Ready for action
Ready for action
Moscow’s new Ice Palace gets Worlds, Dynamo
The impressive new venue, which has three rinks under a single roof and seats 12,000 spectators in its biggest arena, staged a soft opening back in April with the second edition of Russia’s ‘Legends Cup’ for veterans. Now it’s full speed ahead to be ready for pre-season in August, the upcoming KHL season and ultimately the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Vladimir Myshkin, a double Olympian, was among the players who suited up for the April event – and he was excited by what he saw of the new arena even though the finishing touches were still to be applied.
“The arena is shaping up to be the best hockey facility in Europe,” he told ITAR-TASS. “It’s not all ready yet, but nowhere else has three ice sheets under one roof, with two of them multifunctional. Compared with the Globe in Stockholm or the Hartwall in Helsinki, ours is a few steps ahead of them. That’s normal, time doesn’t stand still and in a few years there will be new, even more modern arenas.”
Myshkin’s old team, Dynamo Moscow, will be based at the Ice Palace from the start of the coming season. The arena will stage two pre-season tournaments, including the tradition Mayor of Moscow Cup, before the KHL campaign gets underway on 24th August. And according to the veteran goalie, Harijs Vitolins and his players can look forward to a good playing experience.
“The ice is high quality and it was a pleasure to play on it,” Myshkin added. “We had a decent crowd in for the [veterans’] games and the spectator areas are well designed. The lighting, the video screens... it all makes for a great arena.”
As well as top-level hockey, the new facility is also capable of staging concerts and other big sporting events. CSKA Moscow’s basketball team is planning to play its Euroleague games there next season, moving from its traditional home near the CSKA ice arena on Leningradski Prospekt.
The new Ice Palace stands in a district of Moscow once synonymous with limousines for party bigwigs and now hopes to see Russia’s Red Machine cruise into top gear when it hosts December’s Channel One Cup and May’s World Championship. The Ice Palace is the centrepiece of the new Legends Park complex to the south-east of the city centre. The project will also include the first Hall of Fame Museum devoted to Russian and Soviet hockey, as well as an entertainment and residential complex built on the site of the former ZiL car plant on Avtozavodskaya Ulitsa, about a 10-minute walk from the Avtozavodskaya metro station.
That Hall of Fame Museum is due to open for the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and promises to mirror its more famous counterpart in Toronto. Its exhibitions will focus on the development of hockey in the USSR and Russia from its first steps in 1946 to its current status as a definitive symbol of national sporting prowess. At its heart will be a display dedicated to the members of the Russian Hockey Hall of Fame, a project initiated during last year’s Olympic Winter Games in Sochi when the first 146 members were formally inducted.
According to Myshkin the museum will be a treasure trove for lovers of Russian hockey. “We’ve waited a long time for a museum like this,” he told Sovietski Sport. “At last there will be a place where fans can come and plunge headlong into hockey’s history. It’s a place where the whole family can explore together.”
Although the focus of the Hall of Fame is firmly on the development of Soviet and Russian hockey, it is possible that foreign stars will also appear there. “In time we could see foreigners who achieve fame in the KHL introduced,” Myshkin added. “After all, it’s an international league. But to start with we want to pay tribute to our masters.”
Dynamo’s move to the new venue frees up the Blue-and-Whites’ old Luzhniki home, which is expected to be adopted by the reborn Spartak Moscow team in the coming season. It also spells the end for plans to bring the hockey team into the planned ‘Dynamo Park’ complex currently under development on the site of Dynamo’s historic football stadium. Meanwhile, CSKA Moscow is also forging ahead with plans to build a purpose-built hockey venue of its own at Krylatskoye, to the north-west of the city close to the rowing and cycling venues from the 1980 Olympics.
Meanwhile work is also underway to upgrade the Yubileiny rink in St. Petersburg for use as the secondary venue at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The 7,000-seater arena has been selected due to its convenient central location and the hope that an upgraded rink will help to further promote hockey in Russia’s northern capital. Opposed to SKA St. Petersburg’s arena, Yubileiny also has two ice sheets. The arena also staged games when St. Petersburg last hosted the Worlds back in 2000.
The Ice Palace saw first hockey action at the end of April with the veteran tournament Legends Cup. Photo: Andy Potts
The new Russian Hockey Hall of Fame Museum is located next to the Ice Palace. Photo: Andy Potts
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