|National teams|| Men's|
|National federation||Kazakhstan Ice Hockey Federation|
|Top league||Kazakhstani Championship|
|Current champion||Yertis Pavlodar|
Kazakhstan is a country in Central Asia. Astana is the capital, and Almaty is the largest city. Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union until 1991.
|Kazakhstani Championship||1992||-||Top-level national league|
|Kazakhstan Cup||2002||-||National cup competition|
|Kazakh SSR Championship||1956||?||Defunct Soviet-era competition|
|Kazakh junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
|Kazakh Women's Hockey League||2003||-||National women's league|
History of hockey in KazakhstanEdit
The first ice hockey teams in Kazakhstan were founded in the 1950's and the inaugural Kazakh SSR Championship was staged in 1957. The Kazakhstan Ice Hockey Federation was founded in 1991 as part of the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation. After the Soviet Union disintegrated, the federation became independent, and the country joined the IIHF on May 6, 1992.
Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk became the first Kazakh team to play in the Soviet Championship League in the 1987-88 season. Torpedo had previously participated in the Kazakh SSR Championship and the lower-level Soviet leagues. After the country became independent, the Kazakhstani Championship was first contested during the 1992-93 season. Torpedo, which also participated in the International Hockey League from 1992-1996 and has partaken in the Russian Vysshaya Liga annually since 1996, has won 14 league titles.
In recent years, Beibarys Atyrau and Yertis Pavlodar have been the top teams in the Kazakh League as Torpedo has only entered their second team in the competition. The Kazakhstan Cup was first contested in 2002. Barys Astana has played in the Kontinental Hockey League since 2011.
The men's national team frequently represented the Kazakh SSR at the Soviet Winter Spartakiad when the country was part of the Soviet Union. After becoming independent, the Kazakhstan played its first game in April 1992, defeating Ukraine 5-1. They participated in the 1994 World Championship Group C Qualification tournament, and qualified for the 1993 World Championship Pool C tournament.
They were promoted to Pool B in 1997, and made their debut in the Top Division the following year. Since then Kazakhstan has frequently flip-flopped between the top and second division. Their first appearance at the Olympics came in 1998. Kazakhstan reached the quarterfinals before bowing out to Canada. Their next Olympic appearance was in 2006. The national team first took part in the Asian Winter Games in 1996, and have enjoyed great success, winning the gold medal three times.
One of the best players from Kazakhstan to date is Boris Alexandrov, who played for the famous HC CSKA Moscow and the the Soviet National Team in the late 1970s. Yevgeny Poladjev was a member of HC Spartak Moscow and the Soviet National Team in the late 1960s and early '70s. Andrei Raisky was signed by the Winnipeg Jets in 1992 and played in the club's farm system. Konstantin Shafranov became the first Kazakh to play in the National Hockey League when he debuted with the St. Louis Blues in 1996-97. In 1998, the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Nikolai Antropov 10th overall. He went on to play over 700 games in the NHL. The goaltenders Vitali Yeremeyev and Vitali Kolesnik have also suited up briefly in "the show".
The women's national team has participated annually in the IIHF World Women's Championships since 1999. Their best finish was sixth place in 2009. They finished in eighth place at the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City. In five Asian Winter Games', they have won three gold and two bronze medals. The Women's U18 national team made its international debut in 2010, playing in the IIHF World Women's U18 Championships.
The junior national team participated in the IIHF World U20 Championship Group C Qualification tournament from 1992-1994. They first played in the C2 Pool in 1995. After quickly rising to the Top Division, Kazakhstan scored a huge upset when it stunned Canada 6-3 in the seventh place game at the 1998 World Juniors. They have played in Division I since 2010. The U18 national team won three gold medals at the IIHF Asian Oceanic U18 Championships.