Ice rinks in Minsk: history and present-day state


Ice rinks in Minsk: history and present-day state

The history of Minsk ice rinks started at the beginning of the 20th century. The rink in the children's park named after Maxim Gorky was flooded every year. At that time, there were few entertainments in the city. And skating was awaited with impatience. This rink was paid. Tickets cost a lot. Minsk residents from poor families went to skate on the frozen River Svislach. Nevertheless, well-dressed women and gentlemen were enjoying skating under a brass band amid multicolored lights.

Today, ice-skating is available to everyone at any time of the year. About 100 ice rinks in school yards were flooded in the past winter season in Minsk. More than 20 hockey boxes were built.

The most popular place for public skating rink for many years was October Square.  Advertised as the largest ice rink in the country, the skating rink near the National Library failed to meet Minsk residents’ expectations. The city authorities promise to fix flaws in 2017 by creating adequate lighting rink and monitoring the quality of the ice.

In the middle of the 20th century, first roofed skating rinks were built in Minsk in order not to be dependent on the weather and have control over the ice surface. The Sports Palace was opened in 1966. The next indoor ice rink started its work in the capital's Central Children's Park named after Maxim Gorky in 1976. Minsk residents had an opportunity to skate all year round.

Professional sport on ice began its active development.

There are seven ice hockey arenas today in Minsk. The first official match was played at Minsk Arena in January 14, 2010.

There are three stadiums for hockey, figure skating and speed skating in this arena. This grandiose construction of the 15,000 seats received the right to host the Ice Hockey World Championship in 2014. Here, ice boasts distinctive quality. Moreover, a large group of professionals with the help of the latest technologies takes care about the ice around the clock.

Anatoly Golovanov, engineer:
We monitor water quality and air parameters because so many factors affect the condition of the ice. If humidity is high and the temperature changes in any direction, even one degree, this is already reflected on the quality of the ice.

The base of the ice is a rectangular concrete surface. Many thin tubes run inside. Refrigerant coolant is fed through them.

Good purified water is one of the important components of ice quality. Crystal clear water falls into an ice resurfacer. Processing is carried out in three stages. A steel sharp knife inside the machine cuts and removes all ice chips. Then it pours hot water on the ice. It melts and begins polishing by a special "towel", which evenly distributes the water. It makes a perfectly smooth coating. Driving of such ice resurfacer is a delicate matter. It requires special training. You have to be careful on the turns and choose the correct speed. The high-quality preparation of ice determines not only athletes’ results but also their health.

Alexei Volchek, coach in an ice hockey sports school:
The speed of players’ movement on the ice depends on the ice quality. Moreover, if the ice is not prepared properly, the player could be seriously injured.

One of the main purposes is climate control during a competition. For this purpose, the arena is equipped with a powerful air distribution system. Thousands of spectators, numerous lighting fixtures are all this becomes a direct source of heat, which adversely affects ice condition. Therefore, air should be distributed so as not to cause discomfort to the audience and not to degrade ice quality.

World hockey stars did appreciate the quality of the ice after the success of the World Championship at Minsk Arena and Chizhovka Arena.

The Minsk Arena complex was included in the top five best ice rinks in Europe.

Today, Minsk Arena and capital’s other ice rinks host competitions throughout the year.