Orange Arena Bratislava

The 2011 IIHF World Championship host’s most modern arena – the Bratislava Orange Arena – is also the oldest ice hockey arena in Slovakia. Its ice rink history stretches back to the 19th century. The rink was first opened in Bratislava in 1871. Work started on the first artificial ice rink just before the second world war on the 28th of October 1939 in what is now Trnava street. The rink was ceremoniously opened just efore Christmas in 1940 and the first official ice hockey game was played on the 21st of December of the same year. It wasn’t quite a stadium yet. The rink was not covered and the spectator sector around it could hold only about 300 fans. The first tribunes were built during 1948 – 1949 and raised the standing capacity to 11 000 spectators. It was now possible to talk about a real ice rink in Bratislava. The stadium was enclosed in 1958 for the European Figure Skating Championships (4000 seats).

 

Generations of great ice hockey players grew up with it, including goaltender Vladimir Dzurilla, the best Slovak hockey player of in the 20th century. Home team of Slovan celebrated the Czechoslovak title as the first Slovak team in the history on 23rd March 1979 there. Six years before the first Slovak gold medalist from the Sapporo Winter Olympics – legendary figure skater Ondrej Nepela (1951 – 1989) said farewell to his amateur career by winning the third World Champion title there.

 

Significant reconstruction of the stadium was undergone from 1989 to 1992 concerning the hosting of the 1992 IIHF World Championship in Prague and Bratislava. The stadium interior, including the spectator seats, the players locker room and the technical basement were all reconstructed plus a new reinforced concrete roof was added. Standing space was cancelled, the auditorium had a seating capacity of 7747.

 

Visualisation of the stadium after its completion.

The reconstruction for the 2011 IIHF World Champhionship has radically changed the Bratislava stadium however. In less than 24 months since the end of April 2009, when 80 percent of the original Ondrej Nepela stadium was demolished, an arena worthy of pride has been built. Modern multifunctional and fully air-conditioned arena with an attractive glassy facade provides one main and two training rinks, the storage area for the arena´s technical needs and parking boxes are located beneath it. The current arena holds 9765 spectators, for the purposes of the IIHF World Championship the capacity has been reduced by 500.

 

Visualisation of the stadium after its completion.

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