‘We do it for the soldiers’ – UA’s national hockey team dedicates Olympic qualifier success to army

Our team is fighting to get to the Olympics
Our team is fighting to get to the Olympics

Ukraine’s national hockey team can close out a remarkably successful Olympic qualification tournament with a win against Estonia – and they’re dedicating their success to those fighting on the frontlines.

“We are trying to show everybody, like our soldiers – who are doing unbelievable things right now. They are defending our country, and we have no possibility to do something wrong on the ice,” Olexi Vorona, who scored the winning goal in game winning shots against Poland, told NV in an exclusive post-game interview.

“We haven’t beaten Poland in 10 years (11 years – ed.),” he said, “Today we showed everyone that we can do it and we will grow. The opponent doesn’t matter.”

<span class="copyright">Joel Wasserman</span>
Joel Wasserman

The win over top-ranked Poland on Polish ice was Ukraine’s first over their neighbors in over 11 years, spanning 15 games. The last time they defeated Poland’s national team was at the World Hockey Championships – Division 1B in now-occupied Donetsk.
Nobody on the team could remember such an important win for Ukrainian hockey. The question, in fact, bemused the players, who thought about it before admitting they couldn’t remember.

Read also: ‘One step closer to the dream’ – Ukraine plays Poland in ice hockey with Olympic dreams on the line

“I haven’t felt such emotions in hockey for a long time in my career. It is very difficult to convey in words – very happy,” goalkeeper Bohdan Dyachenko, whose fourth straight save clinched the victory over their higher-ranked opponents, told NV.

“The last save, the last shot – I think I will remember them for a very long time. It was a just… an empty cage – and my hand,” said Dyachenko.

<span class="copyright">Joel Wasserman</span>
Joel Wasserman

Ukraine still must win its final game against winless Estonia to ensure promotion to the final qualification stage in August.

Ukraine vs Estonia begins at 5:30 p.m. EET on Feb. 11. You can watch game live HERE.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine