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Russia and Slovakia in friendly tilt

Canadian hockey fans looking to get a sneak peak at what awaits the host country when the 2010 Winter Olympics kick off for good get an opportunity on torch run day.

Russia and Slovakia’s women’s national hockey teams are set to square off in an exhibition tilt at the Langley Events Centre on Monday, Feb. 8.

And while Russia is in pool B, opposite the Canadian side, Slovakia is grouped with Canada and gets the honour of being the host country’s first opponent when the Games get going for real on Saturday,

Feb. 13.

“This is an amazing opportunity for sports, fans, families, and all those who want to catch the spirit of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games to see some live pre-Olympic action,” said Township of Langley Councillor Jordan Bateman, who is chair of the Langley Torch Relay Committee.

The game, which sees the puck drop at 7 p.m., caps off a day full of activities at the Langley Events Centre, including the arrival of the Olympic torch and the lighting of the official cauldron.

“This will be a really special day for our community and being able to host a hockey game between two Olympic teams is the perfect way to conclude it,” said Jared Harman, the Langley Event Centre’s manager of marketing and sales.

“We are anticipating a full house that will get to take part in an exciting and unique experience.”

The Russian side is ranked sixth by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), while the Slovaks come into the Olympics ranked 15th.

And the team is in the record books for the 82-0 thumping they laid on Bulgaria, which qualifies as the largest margin of victory in the history of professional hockey.

That came back in September 2008 in an Olympic Games qualifier match.

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