Sochi successfully hosts IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship
Sochi has successfully hosted the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, as the Russian city continues its preparations ahead of next year’s Olympic Winter Games.
The 10-day tournament featured two groups of five teams, with matches being played at the Bolshoi Ice Dome and the Shayba Arena, both of which will host ice hockey matches during the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
The Canadian team triumphed over the United States in the gold-medal match, winning 3-2 in front of more than 6,000 fans at the Bolshoi Ice Dome.
Laurent Dauphin had given Canada the lead during the first period, before Connor Clifton and Mike McCarron struck back to put the USA 2-1 in front midway through the second period. Madison Bowey then levelled the match before team-mate Frédérik Gauthier secured gold for the Canadians.
“Just indescribable, a great feeling. I don't know what to say. Amazing,” said Gauthier after the match. “One of the best feelings in the world.”
Throughout the tournament, players had been praising the facilities in Sochi, which have been built especially for next year’s Winter Games.
“The arena is excellent, the conditions are outstanding,” said Russian forward Ruzal Galeyev. “The ice is good, the dressing rooms are comfortable.”
“It’s a very good arena, very nice, with good ice – everything is good,” added Swedish forward Andre Burakowski. “I think that Russia has done a very good job!”
The players also paid tribute to the support they received in both the Bolshoi Ice Dome and the Shayba Arena.
“The rink feels good and the atmosphere is great,” said Finalnd’s Kasperi Kapanen. “I guess you can say that it feels like the Olympic spirit is here.”
“We’ve been welcomed really nicely here,” added Canada’s Nicholas Baptiste. “It’s going to be a great Winter Games here, it will bring much for the city, and I am sure everyone will be excited.”
“We have two very good arenas,” he said. “I like especially the small one; it is a typical hockey arena. For sure, the big arena, the Bolshoi, is a typical multi-purpose arena. It’s very nice, very convenient, big, with a lot of space and very good dressing rooms.”