Visa hassle as hockey stars hit Russia

Stephen Dick, in action
Stephen Dick, in action

SCOTTISH hockey star Stephen Dick feared deportation yesterday (WED) when he arrived in Russia.

The 30-year-old former Olympian, who has 24 Great Britain caps, had his passport taken from him by immigration chiefs at Moscow Airport.

Kirkcaldy-born Dick, a Perthshire schoolmaster, and the party, which includes his father Alan, the team manager, then spent an anxious period in immigration wondering what was going to happen.

Apparently, there was a problem with Dick’s visa but the other members of the Inverleith Hockey Club party were allowed through without a problem.

The Edinburgh club won the Scottish indoor title on Sunday for the third year running when they beat arch rivals, Dundee-based Grove Menzieshill, 5-4 in a tense final at Perth.

Dick’s 32-year-old brother, Allan, a London-based hockey development officer, is the team’s goalkeeper.

Most of the players and officials travelled to Russia via Brussels yesterday (WED) for the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Trophy in Pavlovskii Posad from February 12 to 14.

The event is 60 miles from Moscow and Inverleith are in Pool A. They open their glory bid against Atletico Clube de Portugal on Friday morning.

Then, at tea-time, they play Royal HC Namur from Belgium before squaring-up to Belarus based HC Minsk on Saturday morning in their final pool game.

Dick, a former Edinburgh University student who went to Kirkcaldy’s Balwearie High School, said: “Only my visa was wrong. I had my passport taken off me and deportation looked highly-probable at one point as I waited.

“It would have been only me going home and I have no idea how it would have worked out. However, they magically came up with a new visa, corrected.”

And later last night, Dick Tweeted: “And we made it. Inverleith Hockley Club are in a snowy Elektrostal despite a minor/major visa issue. Opening game in two days.”