The Latvian capital of Riga will receive a new ice hockey arena ahead of its co-hosting of the IIHF World Championship in 2021.
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the organising committee for the 2021 event jointly announced the approval of the project this week, with the arena to be built on the grounds of Daugava Stadium, Riga’s 10,000-seat multi-purpose stadium.
Daugava Stadium was the site of Latvia’s first-ever ice hockey arena, with Dinamo Riga playing its first home games at the venue when it had its own natural ice rink. The team reached the Soviet final series in 1988 after moving to an indoor arena.
In the interim years, Daugava Stadium has mostly served as a football and track-and-field venue. The new arena will form part of a €10m (£8.9m/$10.9m) investment by the city government and the venue is also set to host figure skating, short-track speed skating and curling events.
The arena will form part of a wider redevelopment of the old stadium site, which will be transformed into a sport and cultural centre spanning almost 11 hectares.
Latvian Ice Hockey Federation president Aigars Kalvitis said: “The Latvian Ice Hockey Federation is extremely excited to announce that the process of construction for the new ice hockey arena has begun.
“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.”
Riga will co-host the 2021 IIHF World Championship alongside Minsk in Belarus. Eight teams from Group B will compete in Riga, which will also host two quarter-final matches.
The IIHF said the new arena will serve as a practice venue for competing teams. It will be built just a 10-minute drive from the 10,300-seat Arena Riga, which will host matches during the World Championship.