Into the Fan Zone
Into the Fan Zone
Fun and games between the action
Launch the catapults! Moscow's fanzone is keeping visitors entertained - and they're coming from all over Russia and around the world.
This year's theme is interaction, with the game zone proving the biggest hit with most visitors. Table hockey, hockey-curling, a catapult launching giant pucks at a range of targets and a new take on air hockey possibly inspired by a vacuum cleaner in reverse gear are all among the attractions that have got fans of all ages excited between games at Ice Palace in Moscow.
Marina Fyodorova, one of the volunteers in the fanzone, has been thoroughly enjoying getting to meet so many new people in the carnival atmosphere of the World Championship.
"Everyone who comes here is so excited, so passionate about the game," she said. "It's really inspiring.
"And it's not just Moscow - we've had people from all over Russia and from the other countries competing in the tournament. Most of the foreigners are really keen to know where they can try traditional Russian food and drink."
The fanzone tends to be busiest before Russia's games, but regardless of the teams in action on the day there are always plenty of people around. Before Switzerland's game against Denmark, three sharply-dressed guys in red suits were taking in a bit of pre-match atmosphere at their fifth World Championships.
"It's our first time in Moscow and we're really enjoying it," Marko said. "The weather's great, it's a good tournament and the beer isn't bad either!
"The only problem is that the Swiss team didn't start well, but we're getting better."
As veterans of several previous campaigns in Stockholm, Helsinki, Minsk and Prague, the trio gave Moscow the thumbs up, not least because of the size of the fan zone and the wide range of things to do. And after starting their tour of Moscow with a visit to Red Square, they were looking forward to exploring more of the city in the coming days.
To help with that, a tourist information office in the fanzone can provide useful information about the best sights and the easiest way to get there. Elizaveta Blinova, one of the bilingual staff helping out fans, explained that it's one of just three visitor information centres in the city, highlighting how seriously Moscow is taking the need to get information to fans at this year's championship.
With neat guides to different areas of Moscow and plenty of info about tours, galleries and museums, it's a great place to stop by for some ideas to fill in any free time. Elizaveta herself insists that nobody can miss out on Red Square and the Kremlin, but also recommended the recently refurbished planetarium as a good family day out - and far more of a show than a science lecture in its new guise.
The arena fanzone isn't the only show in town. Gorki Park, Moscow's iconic riverside space, has a fanzone of its own. Popular with local residents - and especially families who want to catch a game in a lively atmosphere without encountering hard drinking fans in a sports bar - it doesn't attract so many foreign fans. English is rather less often spoken here, but it's a pleasant spot to laze on a bean bag and watch the action on the big screen.
There's also a chance to meet a real live Laika - prior to each game a husky comes on stage to predict the winner, although sometimes the excitement persuades the dog to try to wolf down both bowls of food in an outbreak of ravenous indecision.
The Gorki Park fanzone operates during game time, with the build-up starting about an hour before the puck is dropped.
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