ASTANA – A new, multifunctional 12,000-seat and 86,000-square-metre Ice Palace was opened on Aug. 9 as the Cup of the President started in the capital.
The complex will include an ice arena, an ice hockey academy and 50-metre Olympic and artistic swimming pools.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Astana Сity Akim (Mayor) Adilbek Dzhaksybekov and President of Ice Hockey Federation of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin were among the honoured visitors at the grand opening on Aug. 8.
According to the President, Astana will focus on winter sports due to its lengthy winters. He stressed the new facility should be financially sustainable.
“We should be able to organise large-scale concerts, both international and regional tournaments. We are currently working to address this question. The facility could be financially independent due to its various sports events. It is a very important point. And this refers not only to this building, but to all other sports facilities, which were built in Astana,” the President said.
“Our hockey team is ranked 7th or 8th in the Continental Hockey League (KHL) standings. This is a very good result. I think this stadium will inspire our athletes and we will host significant world sports events here. Our hockey fans will enjoy watching this courageous sport. So I congratulate all, especially the athletes and young people on the opening of this great, wonderful facility,” he added.
Also attending the ceremony and the inaugural match of the Cup of the President on Aug. 9 was President of the International Ice Hockey Federation and member of the International Olympic Committee Rene Fasel who praised the arena. He also reportedly said discussions are under way on organising the youth ice hockey world championships for in Kazakhstan in 2017.