From Russia with love: Conversing with a CARHA teamWednesday, March 14, 2012 by: Connie Carello
Team Traktor, the Russian Over 60 team from Chelyabinsk, was happy to have participated in their third CARHA tournament this year.
It might have been because they defeated the Wynd Breakers and First General Services.
Or it might have been for love of the game and the chance to test their still-sharp skills against new rivals.
With their oldest player, Alexander Golubev continuing to play at the age of 68, the team is an inspiration to all those who recognize hockey as a life-long passion.
"Put on the skates,” he tells players who may have hung up their skates. “Be pleased with skating, get out there, you have to try. If I didn’t, I would feel old.”
Vladimir Devyatova, the team’s representative, indicated just how important the sport of hockey has become in her own country,
“The national sport is football," said Devytova. "It is not hockey but people are starting to realize the benefits of the game. The physical shape it keeps players in, the team work it creates, are all positive things and organizations are starting to fund different programs.”
“Watch the veteran games, take our lead and follow us," said Anatoly Kartayev, another team member. "You can learn from our example and we hope that will be enough to push people to keep up with the game."
They do to inspire others and to encourage the younger generation back home to continue to achieve their hockey aspirations.
Traktor team members consider playing hockey a job from which they just never retire - because they love it too much to leave it.
Gennady Shutov started playing hockey at the age of thirteen.
He's the team goal tender.
“We have not played enough. It has become our job," said Shutov. "We want to continue with our sports career and since we know how to play hockey and trained ourselves from a young age, it seems like the right thing to do. It keeps us in good physical condition and is a great pass-time hockey to share with good friends.”
Even after competing in tournaments all over the world, including Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, and cities within their own country as well as Canada, Traktor members say they have only just begun.
The Traktors took to the ice in CARHA 2004 and 2008, and they were happy to be in Sault Ste. Marie for CARHA 2012.
It took it's joy all the way to the finals on Saturday at the Soo Pee Wee Arena.
But what did the Traktors think of Sault Ste. Marie, especially in comparison to Chelyabinsk, which has a population of over 1.7 million?
“My impression is that the town is very slow paced which is different from my hometown or places I have been to," said Devyatova. "You do not have to rush. You can take your time, places are easy to find but everything seems so wide apart.”
“We have not had the chance to see much with the tournament keeping us busy but the people here seem very friendly," Kartayev said. "We felt welcomed.”
“Yes, the people have been very nice to us," Shutov said. "It is like a one-story America since the buildings are very low to the ground, and the places far apart from one another.”
“The experience at the Essar Centre was wonderful, very colourful,” Devyatova went on to say. “It was very powerful, made us realize what we are doing here for our country and for the game of hockey and yes, the weather was very cold, but we are used to that in Russia.”