Thank you Riga, Hello Helsinki and Tampere

OSLO The preliminary matches of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship has become one of the most sensational in the modern history of hockey. It is pleasant to note that the national team of Kazakhstan became one of the authors of such sensations.

Kazakhstan beat host Latvia 3-2 following a seven-round penalty shootout on June 22. Photo credit: Olga Bugayeva/Kazakhstan Hockey Federation.

The Kazakhstan national ice hockey team finished the world championship in fifth place in Group B, stopping a step away from the playoff zone. In seven matches of the group stage, the national team of Kazakhstan won four victories, of which two – in regular time, two more – in the shoot-out series.

We have already written that Kazakh players have set a record. The team scored more points at this tournament than during the entire time of participation in the world elite championships since Independence.

The Organizing Committee of the World Championship in Riga named forward Nikita Mikhailis, goalkeeper Nikita Boyarkin and defender Darren Dietz the best players in the national team of Kazakhstan.

Previously, at the world championships, Kazakhstan won a maximum of one victory. For the first time in its history, our team managed to score 10 tournament points (before, the group scored no more than two). For the first time, Kazakh team managed to beat the reigning world champion. For the first time, our team won a major victory – 11:3. This result is likely to be the biggest win in the ongoing tournament.

The list of records also includes the highest scoring of our attack – 22 goals. We have never been in fifth place in the modern format of the group stage either.

This achievement can even be slightly compared with the exit of the Kazakhstan national team to the quarterfinals at the White Olympics in Nagano in 1998.

At the World Cup 2021, the national team of Kazakhstan for the first time in many years ceased to be a team, which continuously runs between the hockey elite and the first division.

In this regard, it is necessary to pay attention to the opinion of the legend of Finnish hockey, a Finnish former professional ice hockey winger and a five-time Stanley Cup champion, who was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history, Jari Kurri, who noted before the World Championship that Kazakhstan is able to surprise at the World Cup.

Later some foreign experts noted that the team of Kazakhstan jumped over its head and played beyond its capabilities.

A pleasant discovery was the play of the national team goalkeeper Nikita Boyarkin, defender Ivan Stepanenko. Darren Dietz and Jesse Blacker played reliably in defense. Veteran Alexander Shin helped the team a lot. Nikita Mikhailis showed his filigree and fast hockey. Team captain Roman Starchenko confirmed his reputation. Artem Likhotnikov’s goal became one of the top 10 in the championship.

Of course, it is necessary to note the great contribution of the coaching staff headed by Yuri Mikhailis.

However, today, the appetite comes with eating. During the championship, the fans were already expecting more from the team of Kazakhstan. Namely, the exit of the quarterfinals of the tournament. And quite rightly.

And somewhere there was not enough luck. Perhaps quite a bit.

Next year, the national team of Kazakhstan will again go to the World Ice Hockey Championship, which is planned to be held in Helsinki and Tampere.

Hopefully, the performance of Kazakh hockey players on the Finnish ice will become even more successful in 2022.

Good luck to our guys! Alga Kazakhstan!

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