International Ice Hockey Federation

Welcome Turkmenistan

Welcome Turkmenistan

Central Asian nation joins as 74th IIHF member

Published 15.05.2015 18:05 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Welcome Turkmenistan
Awarding of the trophy at the Winter Sports Palace in Ashgabat. Photo: NCTWS
Turkmenistan was admitted as associate member of the International Ice Hockey Federation. The IIHF now has 74 members.

Turkmenistan is the third former Soviet republic from Central Asia after Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to join the IIHF.

Although Turkmenistan was part of the Soviet Union, playing ice hockey is a rather modern phenomenon. With a large part of the country covered by the Karakum desert, the country rich in natural gas reserves doesn’t have a long tradition in ice sports. However, this is about to change.

Turkmenistan has three indoor ice rinks with four ice sheets suitable for hockey all located in the capital of Ashgabat. The first one, the National Olympic Sports Palace with a capacity for 1,000 spectators, opened in 2006 and was the basis to launch ice sports programs. In 2011 two more ice arenas were built.

The biggest arena is the 10,000-seat Winter Sports Palace that was built with a modern interior and luxurious material. The opening tournament was played with Russian teams Ak Bars Kazan, Neftyanik Almetyevsk, Podhale Nowy Targ from Poland and Maribor from Slovenia.

Ice hockey is an affair at the highest level in Turkmenistan. It was the country’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who demanded to build ice hockey programs. Several companies and government departments founded ice hockey teams and schools and a first domestic tournament was held in April 2012 with medals awarded by the President. The team Burgut of the State Committee for Tourism and Sport became the first winner ahead of Shir, Oguz Khan and Alp Arslan.

Since 2013 the annual Cup of the President of Turkmenistan is held. The international tournament also involved clubs from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine as well as the national teams from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

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The eight-team senior league was played for the first time in the 2013/2014 season and involved eight teams that played 28 games each during three months with Galkan as the national champion ahead of Shir and Nesil. The second season is still underway and will end on 4th June.

Soon a sports boarding school for 350 countries will be opened to support ice hockey players in their career.

Currently 182 ice hockey players are registered in the country including 120 players that are 20 years of age or younger.

Click here for the Turkmenistan country page on

Turkmenistan Arena 373
The 10,000-seat Winter Sports Palace in Ashgabat. Photo: NCTWS


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