Under arena roofs
<img class="imgl" alt="" src="http://www.belarus-magazine.by/belen/data/upimages/2009/0001-009-417.jpg">[b]World Championships are second only to the Olympics, requiring great organisation. The International Ice Hockey Federation studies every aspect of a country’s application to host a world-class event. Fortunately, Minsk was found fully ‘up to the mark’ resulting in it being chosen for the forthcoming World Championship. It has two ice rinks of large enough size, boasting all the necessary facilities; moreover, both arenas are connected, in some way or another, with the World Championship. [/b]
Able to host 15,000 people, it opened in 2009 and took Belarus into the world ice-hockey elite; even rinks in Europe cannot compete. It has only a handful of rivals worldwide. Its attendance record is 17,100, and the unique arrangement of the stadium allows a cycle track and ice rink to be accommodated. Of course, it also offers locker-rooms, VIP-zones and cafes (hockey-themed). In readiness for the coming World Championship, special surveillance cameras have been fitted at entrances and locker-rooms now have additional power sockets, while the saunas have extra seating and hand-rails.
Fulfilling the wishes of various international commissions, the arena has improved the sliding cabins used by referees, and has replaced the kapron plugs on which hockey gates are fixed, for softer ones, reducing the risk of injury. Flooring near the entrance way has also been improved and additional cabling has been fitted (some hundreds of kilometres) — in various thicknesses.
Naturally, the arena has been equipped to allow journalists to do their job: with work-stations and plenty of communication points, as well as high-speed Internet access and various equipment.
The arena is ready to cater to a full house of over 15,000 fans and about 350 journalists; of course, matches featuring the Belarusian team will be most popular. The arena has already proven itself in hosting international hockey, skating, basketball, handball and cycling competitions and is the home rink for Dinamo, which plays in the KHL. Those working at the complex know everything there is to know about hockey requirements, hosting semi-finals and finals for key competitions.
The arena in the Chizhovka micro-district recently opened its doors to sportsmen and fans, having been built specifically for the Ice Hockey World Championship. It has transformed the life of the whole region of the capital, being unrivalled in facilities, despite seating a more modest 8,800. It surpasses all international standards and is sure to busy hosting future sporting competitions.
Chizhovka-Arena is unique in appearance and technical facilities, being able to host not only ice hockey, short-track and skating competitions, as well as other ice sports, but a range of other events — from athletics to gymnastics. It can even be transformed to host concerts. According to the Canadian company which specialises in creating such ice rinks, it takes just two hours to make the transformation at the USA’s biggest arena: Madison Square Garden in New York. Minsk’s version has eight locker-rooms — all well equipped — and a small rink used for training pupils of sports schools and for public skating. Between the two rinks is a press centre, a conference room, and a leisure and entertainment zone with bowling, billiard rooms, saunas, cafes and restaurants, featuring large viewing windows over the main rink.
The arena happens to be situated in one of the most picturesque places in the capital, on the bank of Chizhovka’s reservoir; the grounds surrounding the complex allow fans to enjoy a walk in the open air.
Yevgeny Vorsin, Chairman of the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation, tells us,
“In applying to host the Ice Hockey World Championship, our country faced serious rivals. Our success was based upon our being able to quickly build a second big arena in the capital. Experience at Minsk-Arena shows that both sports stadiums will be popular after the World Championship ends. Minsk is ready to provide teams with the best conditions for training and for holding matches.”
By Ivan Komarov