And with that ice rink opening – a stand-alone venue which is rare to find in the South East Asian region - many players from the “talent pool“ in the northern part of Thailand became a new home they were long waiting for.
“The efforts we see and feel from the side of the authorities, the Ice Hockey Association of Thailand, investors, and developers are remarkable. The association stays in close contact with the IIHF to establish and further strengthen fundamental programs. And it appears to be just a matter of time when the Ice Hockey World will recognize and witness the next steps the association will take,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif who was also accompanied by IIHF Vice President for Asia and Oceania Aivaz Omorkanov. “But only, if they continue to grow structured and in a sustainable way as it is planned,“ the IIHF President continued.
The success the Ice Hockey Association of Thailand is widely recognized on a domestic and regional level. With Thailand hosting the South East Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2025, Malaysia in 2027 and Singapore in 2029, the rinks in Chiang Mai and Bangkok could provide a perfect platform for the preparation of all Thai athletes.
The opening of the “Thailand International Ice Hockey Arena” with the attendance of Their Majesties of Thailand had many highlights: The official protocol, the unveiling of the impressive arena signage by the push of a button by His Majesty The King, a religious ceremony performed by Buddhist monks, the presence of national as well as regional authorities across all levels as well as a figure skating performance. However, the focus of attention was when Her Majesty the Queen, played by herself Ice Hockey with National Team Players of the Ice Hockey Association of Thailand.
“We had very positive discussions here in Thailand and I would like to thank the Sport Authority of Thailand, the National Olympic Committee as well as IOC Member Madame KhynyingPatama Leeswadtrakul and everyone involved for their valuable and remarkable contribution to our sport in many ways. We as the IIHF and the newly established Development Department, provide a completely new service level to the IIHF members as we continue to grow globally. And we also see that the members take advantage of this offer and service,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif.