The Chizhovka Arena opened prior to the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and has been the home of Yunost Minsk since. Photo: Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images
World Championship venue will host Final
Yunost Minsk was awarded the right to host the 2018 IIHF Continental Cup Final. The tournament will take place 12-14 January 2018 at the Chizhovka Arena.
Yunost Minsk finished the last preliminary round of the Continental Cup undefeated with the best record and will host the event at its home arena. The 9,600-seat arena in the Chizhovka district in the south of Minsk opened in 2013 and was used as one of the venues for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The complex includes two ice sheets.
The team that is currently in second place in the Belarusian Extraliga has won the Continental Cup in 2007 and 2011 when it already hosted the final once. This year Yunost won all three preliminary-round games in the group in Rungsted, Denmark, and qualified for the final together with second-ranked Sheffield Steelers from Great Britain. See recap.
Kazakh champion Nomad Astana won the other group in Ritten, Italy, and advanced to the final together with the second-ranked hosts. See recap.
The four teams will play for the Continental Cup’s winner plate at the round-robin tournament in Minsk. The Continental Cup winner will get the chance to play in the Champions Hockey League 2018/2019 pending formal approval by the CHL board as it was the case with the last four winners – the Stavanger Oilers from Norway in 2014, Neman Grodno from Belarus in 2015, the Rouen Dragons from France in 2016 and the Nottingham Panthers from Great Britain, who were the CHL’s surprise team in 2017.
Visa-free travel to Minsk
Good news for hockey fans from the four countries is that they can travel visa-free to Minsk.
Fans from Kazakhstan can travel to Belarus under the usual visa-free regime in place between the two countries. Click here for a list of countries for the regular visa-free regime.
Visitors from 80 countries including Italy and the United Kingdom can enter Belarus visa-free for up to five days (including the departure and arrival dates) under new rules for a visa exemption if they enter the country through the international sector of the Minsk National Airport (not possible for flights via Russia). More information can be found here.
The game schedule will be announced at a later date. Click here to access the tournament page.