Sticks worth $750K for four ice hockey clubs in Belarus

Ice hockey clubs Shakhter, Homel, Lida and Metalurg seek to aquire over 3200 sticks for their players, worth a total of $750 000. The calls for bid are posted on the official website of state purchases.

“There are players who order sticks with their names. The sticks are professional - Reenok or Easton, but players ask to put their names on them," Euroradio is told by Metalurg Zhlobin. This club has the smallest share out of those four mentioned above. Metalurg plans to purchase around 500 sticks worth $100 000 for the next season.

Shakhter Salihorsk is in need of 1226 sticks. The club's administrator Veniamin Tachylau notes they are regulated by the Ministry of Sports standards but are hardly to buy this number as they are dependant on funding from the state.

“The standards envisage 4 sticks per player per month! Just imagine how many do they need at Dinamo Minsk that play at Continental hockey League? I guess they do not even have those standards there," says the administrator.  "Statistics show that an average of 4 sticks,including top brands, get broken every month per player. Just imagine: a player plays every day! He can break three or seven sticks per month!”

The administrator also says that jerseys and equipment are also regulated by standards. For instance, two pairsof gloves and one protective chest screen are allowed per season. If the latter gets broken, it is to be fixed.

The total amount that the Salihorsk side want to spend for sticks is not mentioned on the state purchases website. Veniamin Tachylau says they buy professional top-brand sticks, worth $200 per stick. If we multiply this at 1226 sticks, we will get a total of approximately $245 000.

“We use the same kind of sticks as players at CHL and NHL use. The sticks are the same for professional teams, no exceptions. Homel and Metalurg play with the same kind of sticks. Last year we picked a cheaper brand. But we are driven by serious ambitions as we look to win the Belarus championships. Moreover, we have stars in the team this year. They tend to be picky when it comes to the sticks. So, if they fail to win the championship, they will not be able to find bad sticks as an excuse for their failure.”

According to the administrator, the average salaries at their club are not the highest in the Extraleague - only $1300 per month.

“Two years ago, a more or less decent player would not play even for $4500 per month. Ice hockey is an expensive sport but compared even with the Russian chamionship it is even poorer,” sums up Veniamin Tachylau.