The event’s overriding theme was the effort to improve the technical facilities in arenas with a view to enhancing the spectator experience. One of the first speakers was Alexei Anisimov, the KHL’s chief referee. He spoke about the development of the ‘Videogoal’ system and the need to enhance image quality to ensure that any incident on the ice can be reviewed in detail.
“It’s important that we explain to the arena representatives exactly what we need, because everything is connected with funding,” he said. “We know that broadcasters are increasingly keen to use our pictures within their coverage of the games, so we need that picture quality to be better. We need everyone to be ready for this.”
The current season has seen the unveiling of a new system of sporting telematics in all KHL arenas. This required addition equipment and STM’s technical director Nikita Krylov told the audience about the feature of the system and answered questions about how it works.
Among the most pressing concerns for club representatives is the need to upgrade their arenas. A number of teams have already found solutions to their issues, often thanks to the KHL’s annual seminar.
Alexei Zibnitsky, chief engineer, HC Metallurg:
All of these seminars are valuable from the perspective of our future development – determining where to go and how to get there. We’ve been discussing these issues for several years. Over the past three years we have worked with many of the companies that came here to find long-term answers for our needs. Coming here, we could see what everyone could offer in one place. There is nowhere else that we could do this, but when we came here, we could see everything. Then we put it out to tender and chose one supplier.
Alexei Terekhov, chief operations engineer, HC Avangard:
Last year’s seminar was mostly about ice-making technology, this time there’s more about lighting and media facilities. In general, it was a very interesting program. We were quick to sign up for the event and after listening to most of today’s speakers I can say that we have learned a lot. Last year we had some comments about the lighting in Balashikha and we were able to find a contractor who could do all the work within our budget.
The discussion also ranged into the construction of new arenas. Here, the big trend is to create multifunctional sports facilities. It’s no longer unusual to see two ice pads under one roof and increasingly developers are looking for arenas to pay their way thanks to stores and concessions, cafes and the opportunity to stage other events.
Alexei Orlov, deputy general director, PI Arena:
These seminars are really useful. Each year has its own themes: last year was mostly about preparing the ice, this year dealt more with technology around the ice. We’re seeing more and more ice arenas, and they are working around the clock. Happily, we can see parallel progress here. From what we are seeing, there are increasing numbers of professionally-operated public rinks that are not owned by any club and are built to encourage people to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.