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Estonian hockey players return home drunk after going winless in IIHF tournament

Sean Leahy
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Tairo Lutter / Ohtuleht

The IIHF's Division I Group B championships finished last weekend in Ukraine, with the hosts getting promoted to the Division I Group A championship next year after edging Poland in the final game.

Not having such a good time in Donetsk -- well, maybe they were, as you'll read -- was the Estonian national team.

The 26th-ranked team, according to the IIHF, lost all five of their games and finished with a minus-22 goal differential. They fell in their final game, 12-3, to Lithuania after leading 3-2 at one point. They were then relegated to Division II Group A for the 2014 championships.

There was good reason why the Estonians fell apart in their final game: A number of players had been benched by their coach when it was discovered they'd been out drinking the night before.

But the partying did not stop there.

When the team returned home, it was clear that some were still feeling the effects of their adult beverage consumption.

From Postimees:

Maksim Ivanov, the chief sinner at the games and removed from last two matches, needed teamwork to exit the plane. Assisted to the baggage carousel, he decided to take time off there, for a longer period of time.

After waiting for quite a while, two teammates jumped back through the security doors, into baggage room, helped Mr Ivanov to his feet, and escorted him outside, urgently. The bags were taken care of by Maksim Ivanov’s younger brother Sergei – also on the team.

...

According to [Estonian Ice Hockey Association president Jaan Mölder], there is no sense continuing like this, for the behaviour of some team members was vile towards both other players and all of Estonia.

"I’m convinced that this was not the first time things like this happened," he stated.

The main culprit, Ivanov (pictured above), was benched for Estonia's final two games after being caught out past curfew. That gave him no worries about partying it up in Donetsk, since he wouldn't have to be concerned with playing the rest of the tournament.

Head coach Dmitri Medvedev said if he remains on behind the bench, Ivanov will not return to the team.

The Estonia Ice Hockey Association is holding a meeting this week to determine punishment for the four players involved, with Molder telling Delfi, "There will be retribution."

From the sounds of it, the Estonians didn't have quite the drowning-of-sorrows in comparison to the drunken Finnish team that won the 2011 World Championships. (Pasi Nurminen is still sobering up.)

But, hey, at least they were able to fly unlike the Russian junior hockey team last year.

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Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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