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Kazakhstan: Hockey Town Grapples with Changing Times

Security officials watch as Kazzinc-Torpedo defeats HC Ryazan 3-1 in early September during a Vyschaya Hockey League match in Ust-Kamenogorsk. (Photo: Keith Mellnick)

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.

Kazakhstan: Hockey Town Grapples with Changing Times

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