|National federation||Ice Hockey Federation of Uzbekistan|
|IIHF since||Not a member|
|Top league||Uzbekistan Hockey League|
Uzbekistan is a country in Asia. Tashkent is the capital and largest city. Uzbekistan was part of the Soviet Union until 1991.
History of hockey in UzbekistanEdit
Binokor Tashkent, the first Uzbek ice hockey club, was founded in 1971 as Spartak Tashkent. They changed their name to Binokor Tashkent in 1974. The club played in the lower-level Soviet leagues, the Pervaya Liga and Vtoraya Liga, from 1971 until it folded in 1988.
Following independence from the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan's sole ice rink (the Yubileiny Palace of Ice Sports) closed and was rebuilt into an exhibition center. As such, hockey in Uzbekistan died out for a period of about 20 years.
In 2012, several former Binokor Tashkent players - former team captain Alisher Azimov, Shukur Kharimov, and Khakim Tulyaganov - took to reviving ice hockey in Uzbekistan. They began by organizing an ice hockey class at a private skating rink in a Tashkent park. (The rink has artificial ice due to the extreme heat of the Tashkent summers.) Azimov also expressed his hopes for an Uzbek Ice Hockey Federation to be founded as a division within the Winter Sports Association and the possibility of opening an ice hockey school that could train players and lead to an establishment of a junior national team.
Karimov said there are also hopes for a new indoor ice rink to be built and for the long-dormant national team to be revived. The Uzbek Ministry of Culture and Sports supports the return of ice hockey to the country. "This initiative has found support and approval within our agency," ministry spokesman Bokhodir Boboyev said. "We hope that fans, youth and athletes will show a growing interest in ice hockey development, and more hockey clubs and teams will appear all across Uzbekistan in the future."
On December 24, 2012, Binokor veterans organized a youth scrimmage in an attempt to garner public attention to the game of hockey. The scrimmage, despite the wide range in the players' ages and skill levels, ended in a 2-2 tie.
The Uzbekistan Hockey League (UHL) was founded in 2013 with Alisher Azimov as the head. The league began play in January with four teams - Binokor, Bars, Beliyi medvedi, and Akuli.
The Ice Hockey Federation of Uzbekistan was formed in October 2013 and a gala dedicated to its creation was held on December 24. A concert was given and an exhibition match was staged. Also that October, a new incarnation of Binokor Tashkent, which participated in the 2013 UHL season, competed in a tournament in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. The Tashkent Open Championship featuring four teams was set to be launched in January 2014.