Games in the West Group of this year’s Gazprom Neft Cup, the KHL’s annual international children’s hockey tournament, will be played on two rinks at Minsk’s new, state-of-the-art ice palace, the Chizhovka Arena. In preparation for the event, the venue has just played host to a different team, comprising experts from the tournament’s organization committee, to inspect every inch of the infrastructure, including the playing surface, training facilities, locker rooms, spectators’ seating, VIP and press hospitality and the stadium foyers. A special and detailed examination of the TV broadcasting facilities was performed in the presence of staff from the KHL-TV channel and the Belarusian broadcaster, BTRC.
The significance to the host country of staging the forthcoming hockey tournament was underlined by the presence at the meeting of Maxim Ryzhenkov, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Belarus.
"We can already state that the conditions in Minsk for hosting matches in Group West will be the finest in the history of the tournament,” said Alexander Dybal, Gazprom Neft board member and head of the tournament organizing committee. "The presence of dual hockey rinks at the Chizhovka Arena enables all the matches to take place under one roof, without the need to move teams from one ice palace to another. This not only removes many potential transport and logistical problems, but is also beneficial from a financial perspective. For the first time ever, all twelve teams participating in the Minsk stage of the Gazprom Neft Cup will have the same dressing room for the duration of the competition. This new ice palace in Minsk raises the hosting of international sporting events to a whole new level. It is the first time that games in the Gazprom Neft Cup will be staged beyond Russia’s borders, and the impressive level of support shown by our Belarusian colleagues has convinced us that holding part of the tournament in Minsk promises to be an outstanding success.”
The sheer size of the arena cannot fail to impress: the venue covers 36,000 square meters and holds 8,800 spectators. There are two dressing rooms with direct access to the ice, as well as seven locker rooms fitted with all the facilities demanded by the strict regulations set down for hosting major sporting events.
Even the minor arena has an area of 18,700 square meters and can seat up to 1,300 spectators.
By far the largest part of the complex is the main ice hockey stadium, with a rink, fifteen locker rooms, and a medical and recuperative center.
The press center is conveniently sited in the connecting zone and can accommodate 180 journalists, providing them with conference halls and special rooms for briefings, presentations and corporate events.