There are several dozen sports federations in Norilsk. What they are needed for and what sports they represent – in the new rubric “The Polarki” – “To start!” And we start with the Ice Hockey Federation as a sport of winter and, undoubtedly, bright.
According to archival documents, this sport in Norilsk appeared in late 1943, when one of the lakes in the Old Town equipped a skating rink for playing hockey with a ball. In the same year, the first section was formed out of 30 Norilsk residents, which already in 1945 numbered more than 160 people. In the 1950s, the main venue for the games was the open hockey field of the Trud Stadium in the same Old Town.
The official year of the appearance of ice hockey in Norilsk was 1957. The new “home” for hockey players was the stadium “Polarnik”, and little later games and training began to be held on the indoor rink of the village of geologists in Tanah.
In 1970, the ice arena of the Arctic Sports Palace opened, and the following year – the hockey department in the children’s and youth sports school. Hockey has become one of the most popular and favorite sports of Norilsk kids, but every year out of 300 schoolchildren who came to watch, no more than 40 were selected in the section. The pupils of JUSH performed well in the all-union finals of the Golden Puck, became winners and prize-winners of the Krasnoyarsk region and the RSFSR, the regional team was 60% composed of Civilians.
In the ‘90s the club “Polarik” struggled to qualify for the strongest league in Russia, but in a dramatic final lost to Nizhny Kamsky “Neftechimik”, and a couple of years later actually ceased to exist as a professional club. Nevertheless, Norilsk children’s and youth hockey remains one of the strongest in the region.
Today, hockey in the city is played: regularly held the championship of JUSH, the championship of the city with the mandatory participation of “Youth” (teams of the senior age group of the hockey section of JUSH), city competitions for the prizes of the club “Golden Puck”, the tournament in memory of Yuri Rusanov. The main regional views for Norilsk residents are the championship of the Krasnoyarsk region, the sports forum “Stars of Krasnoyarya” and the Spartakiad of the cities of the North in Vorkuta.
“When I started playing hockey, there were so many people who wanted to build us from board to board in the Arctic and select the best,” says Alexander Timchenko, chairman of the Norilsk Ice Hockey Federation. “Today, the criteria are the child’s desire to engage and the willingness of parents to participate in his hobby. Do not forget that hockey is a sport traumatic. And the costs of uniforms and inventory are considerable.
And yet hockey annually recruits its wishers. Even if Ovechkin doesn’t grow out of the baby, the coaches say, he finds friends in the team.
However, Norilians have repeatedly been observed at serious levels. Our guys played in different years in the High Hockey League, Kyiv’s Falcon, Gorky Torpedo. In recent history, three athletes have been in the Youth Hockey League. And the opportunities for achievements of young Norilsk residents today believe Alexander Timchenko: there are enough coaches in the city, enough and ice arenas.
Adult players in the Federation were inspired by the Night Hockey League a few years ago. But interest has weakened over time, and today it is not always easy to recruit a hundred willing to compete within the NHL for a ticket to the festival in Sochi. Perhaps because the Norilians have never achieved it.