Evgeny Kuznetsov was back on the ice on Friday, but not to train for next season. The 28-year-old, Stanley Cup-winning center threw on his goaltending gear at the grand opening of an outdoor hockey rink in his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Kuznetsov, wearing a redesigned Traktor Chelyabinsk jersey he received from the team in late October and a red beanie, cut a ribbon marking the official opening of the rink.
Kuzy also signed autographs and held a master class with dozens of kids from the Valery Belousov Educational Center. Belousov passed away in 2015 and was Kuznetsov’s former KHL coach and a close mentor.
“It had to be a street hockey rink so that guys could come here at any time of the day or night,” Kuznetsov said per Traktor Chelyabinsk’s website. “I skated late all the time. I hope that the parents of the children who live nearby will be patient and understand that their child here is making their dream come true.”
Kuzy put a smile on everyone’s face by suiting up as a goaltender and attempted to stop kids’ breakaways.
And unlike Nicklas Backstrom, Kuznetsov actually let the kids score on him.
Kuznetsov has suited up as a goaltender three different times (at the least) in Washington. From making insane stops on his teammates’ breakaway attempts to stopping Dmitry Orlov’s heavy slap shots, Kuzy never misses an opportunity to jump in net.
The Chelaybinsk outdoor rink sits opposite the Valery Belousov Educational Center No. 3 and was built as part of a joint project called “RMK for Children,” organized by Traktor Chelyabinsk and the Russian Copper company. Hockey rinks were built in four districts of Chelyabinsk and another in Korkino. Each rink has a modern lighting system so people can play hockey at any time of day.
On November 13, opposite the Valery Belousov Educational Center No. 3, a new courtyard hockey rink was opened. The sports facility was built as part of a joint project called “RMK for Children”, which was organized by the hockey club “Tractor” and the Russian Copper Company.
As part of the project, hockey rinks were built in four districts of Chelyabinsk, and another site is located in Korkino. One of the main advantages of such a place for sports is its accessibility. Thanks to the modern lighting system, everyone can practice on the ice at any time of the day.
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