World Hockey Championship in Minsk
Two modern multifunctional sports complexes were built in Minsk specially for the World Ice Hockey Championship: Minsk Arena and Čyžoŭka Arena. They include ice hockey stadiums that can accommodates 15000 and 9600 viewers, correspondingly. Preprations for the championship also triggered a massive reconstruction of the city infrastructure, roads, transport interchanges. Several new hotels were built. However, not everything was built on time.
For example, some hotels were not commissioned before the championship, despite the tax benefits for the developers. Minsk residents were very indignant at the felling of the significant part of the 50th anniversary of October Park for the building Hotel Beijing and Hotel Kempinski in the city center. The latter significantly affected the skyline of the central part of Niezaliežnasci Avenue - an architectural heritage cite of the Soviet times.
The international community protested the decision to allow Belarus to host the world championship because of its poor human rights record and the presence of political prisoners in the country.
However, the International Ice Hockey Federation repeatedly stressed that sport was outside of politics. Despite the pressure from European officials and the press, it categorically refused to reconsider its decision.
The Championship took place on 9-25 May 2014. Belarusians were keen to see their favourite hockey players and bought plenty of tickets, either from ticketpro.by website or from the “Center Kurort” enterprise that sold tickets together with hotel packages. In order to allow all willing fans to see games without spending a fortune, the state prevented hotels from raising room rates. In addition to hotel owners, Minsk students were the ones to suffer from the Belarusian authorities’ excessive hospitality: many of them were forced to leave their dormitories to make space for visitors from other cities.