Russian hockey builds for 2014

DENIS POISSANT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

The great Vladislav Tretiak, president of the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia, has finally sorted things out with the KHL.

The two organizations have been trying to get the upper hand in a dispute over which direction to take the development of young players.

Now everything is in place to give Russia the best chances of taking the gold when the Olympics come to Sochi in 2014.

Russia is already producing incredible results given the small number of skating rinks across the country. Tretiak confirms there are barely 200 in all, whereas Canada has more than 3,000.

Despite those numbers, the country unleashes a ton of talented players every year.

The pro teams go looking for young players in faraway parts of Russia where there's nothing better to do than spend your days on the ice.

The young players learn to hone their talent in specialized schools supervised by the teams. A priority is given to hiring former star players as coaches, this way guaranteeing that the Soviet heroes of the past pass the torch to today's 4-year-olds.

With this in mind, try to imagine what will happen when they have 1,000 arenas built.

The KHL will be starting its own junior league for 17- to 21-year-olds, and every team in the league plans to take part. They don't want their best prospects to make the jump to the big leagues too fast.


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