Russia's junior ice hockey team returns home

16:49, January 09, 2011      

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Russia's junior ice hockey team, the newly crowned champion of the 2011 World Cup, returned home Saturday receiving hearty greetings from families, fans and media.

At around 09:51 a.m. Moscow time (0651 GMT), the squad landed at the Sheremetyevo airport and was welcomed by some 250 fans who braved a freezing snowy weather with the temperature down to minus six degrees.

They held banners saying "Thank you for character" and "Victory is yours," and chanted "Russia, Russia" when meeting the players at the waiting hall.

In return, the team showcased the golden cup they have just won from the hands of Canadians.

Deputy Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy Minister Yury Nagornykh told reporters at the airport that the long-awaited victory was a "revenge" to Canada that slashed Russia 7:3 in the ice hockey quarterfinals of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The junior Russian team fought back five goals when losing three ones to Canada at the Thursday finals held in the U.S. city of Buffalo. This was the first champion for Russia ever since 2003.

Valery Bragin, head coach of the junior team, said it was the thirst for winning that kept his players fight until the last minute of the game.

Immediately upon the triumph, President Dmitry Medvedev said in his tweet that "congratulations to our youth hockey team on winning the world championship." Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also hailed the players' performance in his congratulatory message.

Source: Xinhua
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