International Ice Hockey Federation

Belarus puts on a show

Belarus puts on a show

2014 World Championship a record breaker

Published 21.05.2014 16:19 GMT+3 | Author John Sanful
Belarus puts on a show
MINSK, BELARUS - MAY 17: Belarus fan cheering on his team during preliminary round action against Germany at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
The city of Minsk is centre stage for the international hockey community. With Belarus in the quarter-finals, expectations have been exceeded.

At the 2009 World Championship in Switzerland, Belarusian hockey would be greatly impacted. It was decision time on the host of the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with Belarus, Hungary, Latvia and Ukraine all in contention.

With 75 votes, Belarus was the overwhelming choice much to the delight of the bid organizers. The next closest country was Hungary receiving 24 votes.

Five years later, a nation’s dream is realized as they are poised to be the best attended World Championship in this history of the tournament. To date there have been 536,518 total fans attending games at the arenas.

With six playoff games, including the finals, left to play, this World Championship is on course to break the record set at the 2004 World Championship in the Czech Republic when 552,097 fans were attended.

With the first puck drop, Belarus became the 18th country to have staged a World Championship.

The arenas have featured their share of thrilling and memorable matches but it’s perhaps been loudest at Minsk Arena.

Then, of course, there is the crowd. Fans attending the games are loud, supportive and have added an emotion dimension when the national team plays.

“The crowd is a huge factor for us. I think it is a big advantage for our team,” said Belarusian defenceman Kiril Gotovets. “Even when teams score on us they don’t give up. Their support has been incredible.”

Belarus forward Geoff Platt agreed: 

“The fans are like a sixth man out there for us. I’ve never experienced anything like what we’ve experienced so far here at Minsk Arena.” 

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The 15,000-seat arena was constructed in the hopes of not only hosting the World Championship. It has been the home of Belarus’s Kontinental Hockey League representative Dynamo Minsk.

There is a genuine excitement in the city as the hockey world has turned its attention to Minsk, the spectacle of international hockey and the 1.8 million residents of the capital city.

Minsk’s residents now find their city receiving a lot of international attention and they are the ambassadors in showing those who have come far and wide that Belarus, though an emerging hockey nation, can not only put on a quality tournament but provide plenty of charm as well.


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