Importing the Glitz

Western cash and marketing techniques have transformed the legendary Red Army hockey team into a hot attraction

Center ice at the Red Army rink on Leningradsky Prospekt in Moscow is hallowed ground in the history of Soviet athletics. Players nurtured there in the dogma of the perfect slap shot have won 32 world hockey championships and formed the core of eight Olympic gold medal teams. But economic hard times along with the departure of star players for lucrative contracts in the West have forced the Ministry of Defense, which oversees the team, to redeploy forces. At a game at the Red Army rink last week, the star performer was not a skater but a bear. A dancing bear....

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