The KHL’s Dinamo Minsk hockey club held their annual closing ceremony for their hockey school on Tuesday night. Special guests at the event included Washington Capitals forward Aliaksei Protas.
Protas initially learned how to play hockey at the HC Dinamo Minsk school and advanced through their system before coming over to North America to play Junior hockey with the Prince Albert Raiders in the Western Hockey League.
During the 2020-21 season, Protas returned to Belarus to play for Dinamo Minsk, given the fact that the American Hockey League (AHL) was paused due to the Covid pandemic. As it turned out, Protas remained with Dinamo until they were eliminated from the playoffs. He had a great season, setting a team record for goals by a nineteen year old.
Protas presented prizes and awards to teams and their best players. This included a special award for “Devotion to Hockey”. Other top awards included “Breakthrough player of the Year”, “Athlete of the Year”, “Best Coach According to Colleagues”, and “Golden Way”.
The event continued with a variety of entertainment activities, including an autograph session with the hockey stars in attendance (Protas, Kolyachonok, Usov, along with Dmitry Korobov, Alexei Kolosov, Vladimir Alistrov), all past and current members of HC Dinamo Minsk.
Aliaksei and Ilya Protas
At one point during the festivities, Protas and his younger brother, Ilya, competed head-to-head in a race to inflate and pop balloons.
A highlight from the event for Protas was delivering an award to his younger brother, Ilya.
“I thought I would present a personal award to my brother,” Protas told Hockey.by. – “But, at least he received a team medal from my hands. Happy for Ilya, had a good season, played on a good team. The main thing is that he continues to work. They did not win gold, but they had a good season.”
By Diane Doyle
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