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Кубок Мира по хоккею 1996 года


August 13, 1996

Toronto Sun
MOSCOW -- Vyacheslav Fetisov looks as if he was disgusted and angry at the same time.
The 38-year-old Detroit Red Wings defenceman had just been asked what he thinks of the decision of the NHL Players' Association and the NHL's decision to play World Cup tournament games in Canada, the U.S., Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, even Garmisch, Germany, but not in Russia.
The Russians will play their first game against Canada in Vancouver on Aug. 29, flying from there to Montreal to play Slovakia two days later. The Russians conclude their first round games on Sept. 2 in New York against the United States.
Counting their training camp, which officially opens tomorrow at Moscow's Sokolniki Arena, the Russians will fly more than 12,000 kilometres and skate through 11 times zones in 19 days before the World Cup playoffs begin.
"It's definitely not fair," Fetisov told a room full of Russian hockey journalists and one Canadian at Sokolniki Arena.
"This is the first World Cup," Fetisov said, speaking in Russian. "The competition is designed to make a lot of money, so we must play the games in places where they think they can make money.
"But this isn't right for Russian hockey, Russian hockey players or Russian fans. Our best players already play all their lives in Canada and the United States. We should have one or two games at home, just like everyone else. If it continues this way, how can we possibly do anything for the game of hockey here? Our spectators deserve something, too."
Without saying whether this was actually a threat, Fetisov, who has become the unofficial spokesman for Russia's 50-odd NHLers said, "We'll have one or two home games at the next World Cup. I can promise you that."
Fetisov likely will be the Russian captain in Vancouver. He has heard that the reason the World Cup will have nothing to do with this hockey-mad country is that its organizers are afraid Russia's notorious Mafia will muscle in on the games.
"Look, that was three or four years ago," Fetisov said in English.
"Some players wouldn't come home then, but they've all come home this summer. Everyone. I go where I like. Nobody has bothered me."
Fetisov and Russian hockey officials note that rock stars such as Michael Jackson and David Bowie and many of the top tennis stars have performed in Moscow without any problems. World leaders such as Bill Clinton, Jean Chretien and Helmut Kohl have also come and gone several times without incident.
As for money, the top tickets for rock concerts here sell out at $100 a pop. The so-called New Russians in Moscow have so much money to spend that Vogue magazine says European fashion designers now come to Moscow first before showing their wares in Paris or New York.
Comfort isn't a problem, either. Although it is pricey, Moscow has several of the most luxurious hotels in the world.
Bringing the World Cup to Moscow isn't Fetisov's only ambition. It sometimes seems as though he has taken it upon himself to try to single-handedly save Russian hockey, which has been rocked by massive emigration of its best players to the NHL and to European leagues.
The longtime Soviet superstar organized a game here two years ago for locked-out Russian NHL players and hockey-starved Russian fans, successfully recruiting such reluctant marquee players as Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov.
Fetisov has been a catalyst again this summer. He was one of the chief organizers of a tournament last week involving Russian NHLers designed to raise funds for retired Soviet hockey players and coaches who have fallen on very hard times since the end of communist rule. As it turned out, he ended up being named the Spartak Cup's best player.
Fetisov joins Russia's other hockey expatriates today for medical checks. The first full-team practice, which also includes Alexei Yashin, Alexander Mogilny, and Alexei Zhamnov, is tomorrow afternoon.
This may be Fetisov's last hurrah for the national team. Burly and heavily scarred, he first wore the red-and-white colors of the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago. During the weekend he hinted the coming season very likely will be his last.
As for Russia's chances in what used to be called the Canada Cup, Fetisov said: "This is a very difficult tournament to win. We will have no Russian fans and a lot of road games. But we will play for the Motherland knowing that everyone at home supports us."


Источник - "Toronto Sun "




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