Belarus spends more on ice hockey than on higher education
The Belarus government injects more public money into the development of ice hockey than in the state programs to train nuclear engineers or to improve the demographic situation in the country.
Around Br 259 billion is allocated for the state program to develop ice hockey in Belarus in 2011-2014. The budget includes money trainings of coaches, visibility actions, tournaments, etc. The construction of ice arens and sponsorship by state-owned enterprises are not part of this public budget.
Let's make a comparison between the ice hockey development with other state programs. Approximately Br 230 billion is to be spent for the development of the higher education in 2011-2015 - less than for ice hockey.
The 12-year state program to train professionals for the nuclear energy sector (Belarus is building a nuclear power plant) costs aroud Br 54 billion or almost five times less than ice hockey.
Even the national demographic security program for 2011-2015 has turned out to be of lesser importance than ice hockey - around Br186 billion.
Meanwhile, Team Belarus has shown a great 'stability' for three consequtive years, finishing 14th at Ice Hockey World Championships or just one step away from the relegation zone.
"Why is their performance not improving? Perhaps, there is a lack of funding?” Euroradio reporter asks Uladzimir Krykunou, Belarus' most successful national team coach who nowadays manages the Russian side Neftekhimik in the Continental Hockey League.
"That's not the point. You have created a team for the Continental Hockey League (KHL) - Dynamo Minsk. It appears you have done soe for the sake of Finns, Americans, Canadians, Czechs and Slovaks," counts the expert. "There is only a handful of your own athletes. You should have done what Kazakhs did. They are trying to grow their own players for their only side in KHL - Barys Astana. There were twelve internationals. Then they were reduced to five. At the end of the day, only three internationals have remained. They replaced the internationals with their locally grown players. They got a chance and became the team leaders. You should have left only five internationals at Dynamo Minsk and three fives of their own players. Your lads will grow very quickly, especially the young ones.Within 4-5 months, they could reach the level of KHL and find it comfortable to play there."
Uladzimir Krykunou points to rather tactical setbacks. He exlpains why the players of Belarus national team failed to keep their heads up proudly throughout the championship in Sweden:
"The side was very young. The players should have played at KHL. They are young now. They should be given a hand, and they will grow very quickly."
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Uladzimir Krykunou: "The general level of ice hockey has grown. Beside, previously, Belarus national team players played at NHL and the Russian championship. They were taking the leading roles. They worked hard. Today everybody is thinking about how to work les and earn more. Back then they were thinking more about work. The Belarus players had a good school. Everybody was eager to play for the national team.
Before there was no situation like 15 people were included into the team right away. Three players would resign to be replaced by three new guys. The squad was stable. They worked for 11 months and rested only for one month. Youngsters were raised and were learning from their older more experienced teammates. Nowadays, it has changed. They hear there is a strong player in America. Let's buy him. Buy players around. But there are talented people in Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan and they should be supported and brought to a higher level."
The views of Uladzimir Krykunou are backed by Belarusian famous ice hockey expert Andrei Husau who coaches Shakhtar Salihorsk:
"Actually, my prediction for the world championship was between 12th and 16th places. Few Belarusians at Dynamo Minsk is one of the reasons. They staked on internationals, and here is the result or the lack of it. Belarus players at Dynamo Minsk were secondary compared to internationals. At the same time, the level of domestic championship deteriorated greatly due to limitations for the number and age of internationals at Belarusian championship."