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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Security Up For St. Pete Ice Hockey

ST. PETERSBURG -- Officials said Wednesday that instability in the southern region of Chechnya had prompted them to tighten security measures ahead of this month's World Ice Hockey Championship.

"Every venue involved in hosting the competition will be given top security attention," a spokesman for the organizing committee said.

"Also, every person who applies to work at the venues will be subject to security checks by the Federal Security Service. We can't let any terrorist groups disrupt the championship."

He also said police plan to use dozens of sniffer dogs to check every vehicle entering the stadiums.

However, ice hockey chief Alexander Steblin on Thursday dismissed excessive security worries going into the championships, which will be held in St. Petersburg later this month.

"I have just come back from St. Petersburg and I must tell you that everything is going according to plan," said Steblin, president of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation.

"There is no need to panic and you shouldn't even consider whipping up hysteria about security," he said. "You have people killing schoolchildren in America, bombs going off in Europe or the Middle East. Anything can happen anywhere, and Russia is no different than any other country in the world."

Meanwhile, tickets to first-round games, beginning April 29, went on sale over the weekend without much fanfare.

"There haven't been big crowds around the stadium booths," one witness said. "Just a few people here and there."