UFA, Russia – Having the IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship on home soil for the first time in 12 years, new head coach Mikhail Varnakov and his coaching staff want to make sure everything will run smoothly in Ufa for the event that runs from 26 December 2012 to 5 January 2013.
“There’s nothing we should not take a look at for such an important competition,” said Alexei Kochetkov, the team’s General Manager. “It is especially important to share the experience of the coaching staff, doctors and managers of the team. Together with our colleagues from the Republic of Bashkortostan, issues in all major areas related to the team will be addressed.”
Same as coaches from other teams before and after him, the Russian team staff travelled to the capital of Bashkorostan for a site visit on Tuesday to inspect the arenas, dressing rooms, hotels, the training centre and to get an idea of the travel time within the city.
“It’s evident that the city is preparing for the championship – and they do it seriously,” Varnakov said. “What happens at the Sports Palace and the Ufa Arena is impressive. The conditions are very good and will be even better when the work is finished. All ten teams will be pleased in Ufa.”
After getting introduced to the venues and the host city, Varnakov is looking forward to his first big event as the new U20 national team coach even more.
“The Canadians, Americans and Swedes are surely the favourites – and I hope our team as well,” Varnakov said. “All competitors need to be taken seriously. There are no weak teams at the U20 World Championship.”
Russia will play its group at the 2007-built Ufa Arena with Canada, Slovakia, the United States and Germany as opponents.
The renovated Sports Palace will host the other preliminary-round group including Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Latvia.