Tardif and Tokayev discussed the development and popularization of ice hockey in Kazakhstan and the prospects for holding international tournaments in the country. Tokayev highlighted ice hockey’s increasing popularity across the vast country with over 14,000 people engaged in the sport as well as an improving infrastructure for ice hockey and more investment in ice hockey schools.
Kazakhstan joined the IIHF in 1992 after gaining independence but the hockey programs in the country date back to the 1950s during Soviet times.
The men’s national team gained promotion to the top-level IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship after winning the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A on home ice with up to 8,000 fans attending the games at Barys Arena. They will play at the top level for the third consecutive year and for the 11th time in Kazakh hockey history.
Beside his visit in Astana, Tardif also met with Yerbolat Dosayev, the Mayor of Almaty, to discuss the city’s experience hosting large sporting events including the 2011 Asian Winter Games and the 2017 Winter Universiade.
During his trip, Luc Tardif visited the Kazakhstan Ice Hockey Federation to meet with President Askar Mamin. Both together also did the symbolic face-off before the PHL game Snezhnye Barsy Astana vs. Arlan Kokshetau.
All parties agreed to support to continued participation of players, coaches and officials from Kazakhstan in international competitions and other events as well as the further development of the ice hockey infrastructure in Kazakhstan.