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United Arab Emirates youth team loses match against Russian club by sixty goals

Harrison Mooney
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Game action from the Turkmenistan President's Cup, where the local teams are racking up "decisive victories", according to Turkmenistan's state run media.

The United Arab Emirates isn't exactly a hockey superpower, but the nation is working at developing the game within its borders. They've had some success at the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia, winning gold in 2009 and in 2012, but there, they're playing against other developing hockey nations like Chinese Taipei and Thailand. We can assume that they're not quite ready to go up against, say, a Russian team.

But we don't have to assume. This week, the UAE sent their U17 squad to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, for the inaugural Turkmenistan President's Cup. There, they faced off against the U17 HC Silver Lions from St. Petersburg, Russia. It didn't go well.

They lost by a final score of 60 - 0. From Ria Novosti:

The Silver Lions 95 under-17 hockey squad have produced an amazing score in the maiden Turkmenistan President’s Cup as the Saint Petersburgers put 60 goals past the United Arab Emirates national team.

The regular time of a hockey match is 60 minutes, which means the Russian players scored a goal every minute on average.

Yes, that is what that means.

Way to run up the score, St. Petersburg. Just wait until Don Cherry hears about this.

But don't feel bad for the Emirati team. Their boys may have been severely overmatched on the ice, but at least they were on the ice. The largest issue holding hockey back in the UAE is that there are only a handful of rinks. (Meanwhile, Google Maps shows six rinks in St. Peterburg alone.) National team player Faisal Saeed explained the need for more ice to the IIHF in 2011:

“There are a lot of kids waiting to play this sport, but we don’t have enough ice time for them. If we had more rinks, then we could really move the sport forward. We need to expand and I hope we do that.”

Now the Emirati want to look up to the top nations with the prospect of additional rinks. They think about an entry in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program for 2013. The first goal is to qualify for the Division III, but the dream is to become the first Arab team to challenge the traditional powerhouses from North America and Europe in the Top Division one day.

Clearly, that dream is still a ways off.

If it's any consolation to the UAE club, it could have been much, much worse. It would have taken another 32 goals to match the record for hockey's most lopsided loss. In 1998, South Korea defeated Thailand 92-0 at the Asia and Oceania championships.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

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