Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, owner and president of SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is reportedly planning construction of the world’s largest hockey arena with a capacity of 22,500 spectators.
Timchenko’s plan is have the building completed in time for the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) World Championship. As of yet, however no host cities has been awarded for the tournament.
It’s also interesting to note that Timchenko is a former KGB agent and close friends with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Check out this report from the CBC on Timchenko’s plans:
A Russian billionaire says he’s planning to build the world’s biggest hockey arena.
Gennady Timchenko, the president of the SKA St. Petersburg hockey club, tells Russian media the new arena will have a capacity of 22,500 and could host the 2023 world championship.
The host city or cities for that tournament haven’t officially been chosen yet.Construction on the as yet unnamed arena is predicted to start next year. It will cost around 20 billion rubles ($295 million US).
The Bell Centre in Montreal is currently the world’s largest arena to host regular hockey games, accommodating 21,288 fans in its hockey configuration.
However, much larger attendances have been recorded at one-off outdoor games in stadiums usually used for other sports.
Like the report above says, the title for world's largest hockey arena currently goes to the NHL's Montreal Canadiens. The Habs' Bell Centre has a capacity of 21,288, just 1,212 seats shy of Timchenko's proposed building. The Bell Centre, of course, was built as a replacement for the legendary Montreal Forum and was officially opened in 1996, just in time for the 1996-97 NHL season.
SKA St. Petersburg, for what it's worth, currently play at the Saint Petersburg Ice Palace, an arena that holds 12,300 people and was constructed for the 2000 IIHF World Championships. It's unclear what will happen with this building if and when construction begins on the team's new building. Construction of the Ice Palace cost $60 million USD, while construction of this new as of yet unnamed arena is expected to exceed $295 million USD. That's, as they say in Mother Russia, a lot of rubles...
Photo Credit: Zuma Press