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Goalkeeper Andrei Mezin called up to Belarus national team

14:16, — Sport

Goalkeeper Andrei Mezin called up to Belarus national team

KHL's Avangard Omsk goalkeeper Andrei Mezin has been called up to Belarus' ice hockey national team's February training camp ahead of the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge.

39-year-old Andrei Mezin has not played for Belarus national team since May 2012. A conflict that sparked between the goalie and the then head coach Kari Heikkila made the player take up a decision to leave the team during the 2012 IIHF World Championship in Helsinki. Kari Heikkila stepped down as head coach of the Belarusian national team soon after the incident. Andrei Mezin has not been called up to play for the team neither.

In 2013 the goalie signed a contract with KHLs Avangard Omsk.

Andrei Mezin has played for 16 clubs so far, starting his professional career in HC Khimik Novopolotsk. He then played in the minor hockey leagues in North America: Roanoke Express, Flint Generals, Fort-Wayne Komets, Las Vegas Thunder, Rochester Americans, Detroit Vipers. The goaltender then spent four seasons in Europe playing in Germanys ice hockey league DEL: Nurnberg Ice Tigers and Berlin Capitals. The 2002-03 season the Belarusian goaltender spent in the Russian Superleague playing for Ak Bars Kazan. The following season, 2003-04, Andrei Mezin played for HC Ceske Budejovice before returning to Russia to play for SKA Saint Petersburg, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, and Metallurg Magnitogorsk with which he joined the Kontinental Hockey League. From 2009 to 2012 Andrei Mezin played for Dinamo Minsk in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Andrei Mezin played at the Olympic Games as part of the Belarusian mens ice hockey team in Nagano (1998), Salt Lake City (2002), and Vancouver (2010). He also took part in IIHF world championships in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. Andrei Mezin was named the best player of the 2009 IIHF World Championship. Andrei Mezin, with his bright performance, has earned deep respect among Belarusian fans. His name is associated with numerous successes of the national team, including a sensational 43- victory over Team Sweden mainly consisting of NHL super stars in the quarterfinal match of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Andrei Mezin has been named Belarus Player of the Year four times.

The official website of HC Avangard Omsk says nothing about forward Sergei Kostitsyn being called up to the Belarusian national team. The full roster for the Belarusian teams training camp scheduled for 1-5 February has not been published yet. In the run-up to the 2014 IIHF World Championship Belarus will play at the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge in Gdansk on 6-9 February. This season Glen Hanlons men took part in two international tournaments. Belarus was second at the EuroChallenge in Austria and won Arosa Challenge in Switzerland.

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