On Friday, the 12th of May, the Kontinental Hockey League and Barys Hockey Club of Astana signed an official agreement confirming that the 2018 KHL Week of Hockey Stars will be staged in the Kazakhstan capital. The ceremony was attended by KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko, Astana city Mayor Asset Issekeshev, and HC Barys President Askar Shopabaev.
The signed Memorandum states that the Week of Hockey Stars will be held in Astana from the 10th until the 14th of January, 2018, and the events shall include the Women’s Hockey League (WHL) All-Star Game, the MHL (Juniors’ Hockey League) Challenge Cup, plus the KHL All-Star Game and Master Show.
The decision to grant Astana the rights to host the 2018 Week of Hockey Stars was made after detailed study of four applications from candidate cities. Competing with Astana to stage the event were Vladivostok, Kazan and Helsinki. A special commission set up by the KHL scrutinized and assessed each bid on a wide range of criteria until, finally, the League decided in favor of Astana.
The capital of Kazakhstan thus becomes the ninth city to host the biggest show of the hockey season, and only the third from the Eastern Conference, following Chelyabinsk in 2013 and Ufa in 2016.
KHL President Dmitry Chernyshenko outlined some of the reasons why Astana is the ideal venue for the 2018 Week of Hockey Stars:
“The Kazakhstan capital is a very pleasant city with well-developed infrastructure, and boasts one of the most modern and comfortable arenas in the KHL. It is common knowledge that the people of Kazakhstan love their hockey and are very knowledgeable about the game, so they will take a special joy in staging the Week of Hockey Stars and welcoming the guests and participants of the big event. Just as a year ago in Ufa, we have concluded a special agreement which guarantees a high standard of organization and coordination in the preparations for this event. I am sure that Astana 2018 will become a memorable page in the long history of this star-studded show.”
HC Barys President Askar Shopabaev added:
“Today is a genuinely historic and important day, not only for Barys and Astana but for all of Kazakhstan. To host the KHL All-Star Game, which has now evolved into a week-long festival of hockey, has long been the dream of all the fans of this wonderful game in our country. The Republic will soon be celebrating 25 years of independence, the capital will also host the international EXPO-2017 exhibition, and today we have won the right to stage such a prestigious sporting event as the KHL Week of Hockey Stars. The staff at Barys and at our beautiful arena will make every effort to ensure the event will be a bright and memorable occasion. Moreover, this year it will reach a significant milestone - the tenth KHL All-Star Game in history, and we are honored that the League has chosen Kazakhstan as the venue.”
To conclude the ceremony, HC Barys President Askar Shopabaev was presented with a commemorative certificate to mark the occasion of the official signing of the Memorandum on the Rights to Host the 2018 Week of Hockey Stars in Astana.