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News 20 Apr 17

Finnish Ambassador Takes on Serbian Hockey Team

The Finnish Ambassador to Serbia Pertti Ikonen will represent his country in a friendly ice hockey match between Serbia's 'Little Wooden Legs' and Finnish 'Midnight Bats' on Thursday.

Maja Zivanovic

Photo: Pixabay/FotoEmotions

A Serbian veterans’ [40-plus] team “Drvene nogice” [Little Wooden Legs] and Helsinki's “Midnight Bats” will cross swords - literally - on Thursday evening in an ice hockey match organized to mark the centenary of the independence of Finland.

“Ice hockey, like other sports, is an excellent way to build bridges between nations," Finnish ambassador Pertti Ikonen - who will be playing - told BIRN, adding that Finland is ranked number 3 in international ice hockey rankings, after Canada and Russia.

"As ‘Drvene nogice’ of Belgrade was organizing a friendship veterans' tournament, and a Finnish team from my hometown decided to participate, it became evident that we need this kind of game,” he added.

“We are an example how a small country can compete with the bigger ones,” he pointed out.

The Finnish ambassador said he expected a lot of fun from Thursday night's game. “Ice hockey is always full of speed and many things will happen on ice,” he noted.

The Finns won their independence from Russia on December 6, 1917. The theme of the centenary independence celebration in Finland is “Together”, and will be celebrated with a rich program throughout the year.

Drvene nogice goalie Bogdan Dabovic explained that the match was also as a warm-up before the 13th amateur ice hockey tournament, "Little Wooden Legs - McLennan Cup 2017".

The tournament will take place in Belgrade, from April 21 to 23, with the participation of 16 teams from eight countries.

“Tonight’s match will be friendly, with a team we already know. We will measure our strengths, but I’m also expecting a good time,” Dabovic said.

“Ambassador Ikonen has been playing for the Drvene nogice team for two years but it was logic now for him to play for the Finnish team,” Dabovic explained.

Drvene nogice is an amateur club in Belgrade. Founded in the mid-Eighties, according to its web portal, it aims to bring together former hockey players and passionate fans of the "fastest collective game in the world", with the aim of preserving the love of the game and popularizing the sport.

Thursday's match will be played at the Pionir Ice Hall in Belgrade starting at 7.30pm.

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