Anyone in Ust-Kamenogorsk, a city with a large ethnic Russian population in northeastern Kazakhstan, will tell you their city isn’t just a mining hub. It’s a hockey town.
The local club, Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk, emerged as a hockey force in 1957, when a team of no-name factory workers walked away with a silver medal in an all-Kazakhstan tournament. The club kept winning and quickly through shot the ranks of Soviet hockey, earning promotion to the all-union “A” league during the 1964-65 season.
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Keith Mellnick is a freelance writer and photographer currently working in Central Asia.