On 7 November 2019, the new Central Sports Complex of the Avangard Ice Hockey Academy will be opened in Omsk. This event is part of the cultural agenda of the 16th Russia–Kazakhstan Interregional Cooperation Forum organised by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and the Roscongress Foundation. The opening will be aligned with a warm-up game between minor ice hockey teams of children born in 2009 representing Avangard (Russia) and Barys (Kazakhstan) hockey clubs.
The Central Sports Complex of the Avangard Ice Hockey Academy was commissioned in 2H 2019. The Complex is home to the 1,200-seat Ice Palace and a campus for out-of-town Academy students. The Ice Palace has two arenas – the main arena designed under the standards of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the practice arena. The venue also houses a medical centre, seven training rooms, a gym, and a press room. The Ice Palace is connected via a heated tunnel to the campus accommodating 160 out-of-town students, which also has classrooms, a recreational facility, and a canteen.
The development of the Sports Complex was sponsored by Gazprom Group, under the Gazprom for Children programme. The Complex project was designed to meet the requirements of Avangard (Omsk) which has been implementing its interregional Avangard Academy social programme through its youth sports school since 2012. The programme aims at advancing the training of young hockey players and highly skilled coaching staff, as well as promoting ice hockey to children. To select young talent for the Academy and promote the sport at Omsk schools, the Popular Hockey project has been designed. More schools are given their own ice and sports rinks (25 as of now), have free sports classes where elementary-aged students receive professional coaching, and host inter-school tournaments.
“We have built modern facilities to develop children’s hockey, and we actively share our experience,” said the Omsk Region Governor Alexander Burkov. In a few years’ time, the boys and girls from junior hockey clubs will join the big sport to show their talent on major arenas, such as the new Omsk Arena. The state-of-the-art arena is scheduled for launch in 2022; it is designed both to provide training grounds for adult hockey players and to host major Russian and international tournaments. In particular, it is seen as a potential venue for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. We are committed to sports cooperation with other countries. We invite Kazakhstan, too, to share experience with hockey clubs and, of course, with our academy where young talents are trained.”
The Avangard Ice Hockey Academy has already transformed into a training hub for young athletes from across Siberia and the Urals region, and its branches are being established in cities from the Omsk Region to the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area. In April 2019, we launched a franchise development programme, with the Moscow-based Sea Lions Club becoming our first franchisee. Franchisees can benefit from Avangard’s experience, the club’s IT-platform, and the club brand book.
“The opening of the Academy’s sports complex in Omsk is an important milestone in our ambitious programme for the development of children’s hockey,” said the Chairman of the Board at Avangard Club Alexander Krylov. Popular hockey is the basis of the so-called “talent funnel” enabling us to involve as many children as possible in training and tournaments. The most talented of them will be able to fulfill themselves as professional athletes as they proceed through the funnel to join the Academy, where we have gathered the best coaches, deployed the most effective training methods, and created comfortable environment to fast track young hockey players to professional sports. And we are talking not just about children from Omsk – the Academy branches are already operating in several cities in Siberia and in Balashikha outside Moscow, and we have piloted our franchise projects. We are gradually expanding the programme to the federal level.”
Regional, interregional and international tournaments for children’s teams are an important element of training for young hockey players. The warm-up game between 10-year old members of minor ice hockey teams representing Avangard and Barys promotes this kind of cooperation, timed to mark the opening of the new sports complex. Barys hockey club was founded in Astana in 1999 and plays within the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The Barys Children and Youth Sports School was established in 2012, with about 700 children across 12 age categories, from 5 to 16, attending it.
On 7 November, the Academy’s new sports complex will also host its very first game, as Omsk Hawks will welcome the Tyumensky Legion (Novosibirsk) on the new ice rink in the Youth Hockey League’s 2019/2020 season.