By George Da Silva – National Teams of Ice hockey

In 2013 Uzbekistan revived ice hockey after a very long absents.
Ice Hockey was as popular in the 1950-60s and in 1971 the country had its first pro team Binokor which started to play in Soviet Union’s Vtoraya Liga (Second League) and eventually started to play in the Soviet Pervaya Liga (First League). In the 1990s hockey died out.
We had a change to talk to Alisher Azimov head of Uzbekistan ice Hockey and ask him a few question about hockey in the country

Very little is known about ice hockey In Uzbekistan, can you tells us the history of the game in the country?

Ice Hockey in Uzbekistan was established in 1972 under Soviet Union and it was known at that time as most southern country to play ice hockey and it was acknowledge by Guinness Record books.

Our most known team to play in USSR championships was team “Binokor” it had achieved some recognizable results and had the respect within the Soviet Union countries, but unfortunately in 1988 it came to an end, because of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and for not being able to finance the this sport.

Binokor playing in the USSR Championships

In 2013 there seem to be a resurgence for the game, what brought this on to start hockey again after a very long absences?

First ice rink was built in 2013 in the capital of Uzbekistan (Tashkent), at that time I was in UAE playing in Emirates hockey league.

When I heard the news about the newly opened Ice rink, I  decided to come back to Uzbekistan and to re-establish ice hockey. With the help of ex hockey players we were able to start a new ice hockey team, to which I gave the name “Binokor.

The new Binokor Team started in 2013

 

Binokor Logos

The Ice Hockey Federation of Uzbekistan was founded in December 24, 2013, when will the federation apply to the IIHF?

Currently we are working on re-establishing Ice hockey Federation, we have gathered all required documents and applications.After we open the federation we are planing to do following things:

1. To create first national team

2. Apply to IIHF (International ice hockey federation)

3. To attend any tournaments to which we are allowed to play in.

How many ice rinks does Uzbekistan have?

Currently we only have two ice rinks, first one  is 20 x 40 meters and the second one which is seasonal 50 x 25 meters, it only operates in the cold seasons.

Both of the ice rinks are privately owned.

At the moment we do not have the support from our government, I hope it will change very soon.

Are youth programs being run in the country?

Talking about youth, currently we have close to 100 youth players, their age range from 4 years old to 16 years old, and I believe one day they will represent our country in big arenas.

Uzbek youth representing Binokor

What would you like people to know about Uzbekistan Ice hockey?

I want the people all around the world to know, especially people who love ice hockey, in Uzbekistan we have people who love this sport and are working hard to make it better. At the end I would like to say thanks to people who are with me right now on this journey, and to all people who believed in us and supporting us I say Thank You.

Uzbek youth in a tournament in Kazakhstan