RIGA - The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the Organizing Committee for the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship have jointly announced the approval of a new ice hockey arena in Riga.
The arena will be constructed on the Daugava Stadium sporting grounds, a site that holds special meaning in Latvian hockey as the location of the country’s first-ever ice hockey arena.
Dinamo Riga played its first home games at Daugava stadium, which used to house a natural ice rink. Later when the club moved to an indoor arena it managed to challenge the top teams from Moscow including reaching the Soviet final series in 1988.
Since then, the stadium has mostly played host to football and track and field events. A new investment effort of over EUR 10 million by the city government will incorporate a new arena that will be up to IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship standards and will also house figure skating, short-track speed skating, and curling. The new Daugava Ice Hall will form part of a major redevelopment of the old stadium site, which will be developed into a wider sport and cultural center that will cover nearly 11 hectares.
“The Latvian Ice Hockey Federation is extremely excited to announce that the process of construction for the new ice hockey arena has begun,” said Aigars Kalvitis, President of the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation.
“Furthermore, this was the place where Latvian hockey legends like Haralds and Edmunds Vasilijevs, Vitalijs Samoilovs, Arturs Irbe, Juris Opulskis, Harijs Vitolins, Normunds Sejejs, and many more begun and developed their skills for their successful hockey careers. We believe that the ice hockey arena will be important for the growth of Latvian hockey and leave a legacy for generations to come,” he added.
Representing the IIHF in Riga for the announcement was General Secretary Horst Lichtner, who was pleased to see the project green-lighted and expects the arena to be ready for puck drop at the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
“We completely trust the country of Latvia as one of the hosts of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship with the construction of the new ice hockey arena,” said Lichtner. “We truly believe that the ice hockey arena which will function as a training facility will be built on time and ready for the World Championships in 2021.”
Eight teams from Group B will compete in the Latvian capital, which will also host two quarter-final games. Located just a ten-minute drive away from Arena Riga, the new arena will serve as an ideal practice venue for the teams competing in Riga.
“I am proud of the cooperation between the Ministry of Education and Science, National Stadium Daugava, and Latvian Ice Hockey Federation and with the same energy and spirit we will continue to work to create one of the most memorable IIHF World Championships in history,” said Edgars Severs, Deputy Chairman of the State Secretary for the Ministry of Education and Science.