Believe it or not but professional hockey and soccer continue to be played in Belarus despite the fact there is a coronavirus outbreak in the world. In hockey, Yunost Minsk leads Soligorsk three games to one in their best out of seven championship series, and the Belarusian Premier League is the only professional soccer league currently going on in Europe.
In the Belarus Extraleague, the games have had excellent crowds to date as fans do not seem to be concerned about coronavirus. Yunost Minsk won game one of the series 5-1 on March 27 before Soligorsk won game two by a score of 3-2 on March 28. In the last two games, Yunost Minsk has taken a commanding series lead due to victories by a score of 2-1 on March 31 and 3-0 on April 1.
The first game of the series, Minsk was led by Ivan Drozdov (two goals), while Sergei Drozd and Denis Tsyganov had two assists each. In game two, Danila Karaban scored two goals for Soligorsk. In game three, former Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Mikhail Stefanovich scored twice including the overtime winner at 3:23 of the extra period. Drozdov also had a multi-point game as he notched two assists. Then in game four, Vsevolod Kashkar scored twice while Igor Brikun picked up the shutout. Game five will take place on Friday, with Yunost Minsk having a chance to win the title with a victory.
In soccer, the Belarusian Premier League just began their season. Four teams are tied for first place with two wins. They are Minsk, Energetik-BGU, Isloch and Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino. This weekend has a full slate of eight games to be played. According to the Union of European Football Associations, of which Belarus is a member, they do not have the power to stop the Belarusian Premier League from playing games.
One might wonder what the Belarusian president may think of all of this? Well, Alexander Lukashenko described coronavirus as a “psychosis” according to Matthew Bodner of NBC News. The Belarusian president also believes “it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees,” “sport is better than any antiviral medication,” and saunas and vodka are the best cure for coronavirus. Currently there are 304 cases of coronavirus in Belarus and only four deaths.