ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse
Turkey’s ice hockey federation on Feb. 14 expressed optimism over the future of the sport in the country after its men’s youth team slumped to an extraordinary 42-0 defeat to Russia
at an Olympic festival.
“This is the first time that the team has played against a world giant,” Ice Hockey Federation president Bulent Akay was quoted as saying by the Anadolu Agency.
“We will continue our path with these guys and form a successful national team in the future.”
He slammed what he said were “uninformed comments” about the development of ice sports in the country after a deluge of mockery on Twitter where #buzhokeyi (ice hockey) became a trending topic.
The defeat late on Feb. 13 was sustained at the biennial European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) which Turkey is hosting in its eastern city of Erzurum, hoping the event will be a springboard for the development of winter sports in the country.
“These guys are the national team of the future,” Akay added, noting that whereas 87,000 children play ice hockey in Russia
just 579 play in Turkey.
Turkish media noted with satisfaction that the score was still well off the sport’s biggest thrashing when Slovakia’s women defeated Bulgaria 82-0 in 2008.