History

The development of ice hockey in Belarus started in the early 1940-s. The leading hockey club, which has changed its name several times (“Torpedo”, “Spartak”, “Burevestnik”, “Krasnoye Znamya”, “Vympel”, again “Torpedo”, “Dinamo”, “Tivali”) presented Minsk in the Championship of Soviet Union and Youth Hockey League. Later on teams from Gomel (“ETZ”), Bobruisk (“Start”), Grodno (“Progress”, “Neman”) and Novopolotsk (“Khimik”) have also taken part in the all-USSR tournaments.

 

The National Championship of Belarus is held starting from the 1992/93 season. Belarusian clubs together with teams from Ukraine, Russia and Baltic countries made up the base of Eastern European Hockey League (EEHL). In 2004 EEHL ceased to exist and Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation (BIHA) started to hold Belarusian Open Championship. 10 Belarusian teams, 1 team from Latvia and 1 from Ukraine will compete for the President’s Cup – the trophy of the Championship – in the 2010/11 season. This year “Dinamo Minsk” takes part in the third season of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League and hopes to reach the play-offs with their good selection of players, both Belarusian and foreign, and Czech coach Marek Sikora. Two Belarusian teams – “Minskiye zubry” and “Yunost” will be playing in the Youth Hockey League, which is the junior league of the KHL.

 

Belarus only had 3 indoor rinks in early 1990-s. But things have changed, and today there are 26 arenas, including Minsk-Arena, the largest one in the CIS (15 000 seats).

 

Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation was founded on March 6, 1992. On May 6, 1992 it became the member of International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). Evgeni Ankuda was the first BIHA Chairperson. Later on this position was held by Lev Kontarovich and Yuri Borodich. From 2001 till 2009 Vladimir Naumov was the Chairperson of the main hockey organization in Belarus. He was named the IHFB Honorable Chairperson. In March 2010 Evgeni Vorsin was elected as BIHA Chairperson.

 

Women’s hockey started in Belarus not long ago when two groups for girls were founded in one of the country’s hockey schools. Then a club team was organized in Minsk. Hockey club “Pantera” (Russian for panther) takes part in the Open Championships of Latvia and Austria. The club also participates in the women's Champions League. BIHA plans to build up the Women’s National Team in the near future.

 

Belarusian amateurs are also keen hockey players. A number of amateur leagues, supported both by sponsors and by President Sport Club, can be found in our country. The President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko plays hockey himself and has his own team. The International Christmas Cup for the Prize of the President is played in the capital Minsk each January and due to its high reputation, good level of organization and popularity has been known among the old-timers in different countries as the Amateurs world championship.

 

The year 2014 became a milestone in the history of the Belarusian ice hockey. For the first time in history Minsk hosted 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. According to the IIHF representatives, participants, guests of the championship and numerous hockey fans, the IIHF WM in Minsk became one of the best in the history of holding the competitions. It was Minsk that broke an attendance record. 640044 people attended 64 games of the 2014 IIHF WM - the record, which is unlikely to be beaten in the near future.

 

In October 2014 Mr. Igor Rachkovsky, First Vice-President of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus, was elected as BIHA Chairpeson.