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Canada grabs first ever win at Christmas Legends tourney in Minsk, looking ahead towards gold next year

The 2010 Christmas Legends Ice Hockey Tournament, an event hosted by the Belarusian head of state, Alexander Lukashenko, to promote hockey and friendly relations between participating countries, took place in January in Minsk, Belarus.

This year’s Team Canada was strong and only missed the gold medal game by one goal. Canada’s management made a commitment to bring former NHLers, top Canadian European players and a top-level goaltender in Dan Giffin to challenge the world in Minsk.

The Belarus hockey fans voted Team Canada as their favorite as they went on to beat the powerhouse Russian Gazprom Export Team in the preliminary round.

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“This was the biggest upset of the tournaments history” Sergej Gontcharov, general secretary of the Belarusian Hockey Federation, said.

Up to this point in tournament history, Team Canada had not registered a victory or, for that matter, a point.

The Team Canada management team of Toni Miil and Caroline Andrews, publisher of The Hockey News, were thrilled as the Canadian National anthem was heard for the first time at this tournament.

“I am so proud of the guys and I can promise the Belarusian organizers, Canada is bringing the best team ever next year to challenge for gold.” Andrews said.