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Canada 150 hockey days in Kazakhstan

To mark the 25th anniversary of Canada-Kazakhstan relations, the Embassy of Canada is drawing upon this shared tradition through its Canada 150 Hockey Days in Kazakhstan initiative.

Ambassador Steil and the Zamandas 21 tournament champions.

Hockey Night in Canada is a Canadian cultural icon. Turns out, hockey is also very important to the country of Kazakhstan. To mark the 25th anniversary of Canada-Kazakhstan relations, the Embassy of Canada is drawing upon this shared tradition through its Canada 150 Hockey Days in Kazakhstan initiative.

Canada and Kazakhstan share a passion for hockey. Our countries are united by a love for the game. This year, the Embassy of Canada to Kazakhstan is mobilizing our mutual passion for hockey to promote Canadian priorities in Kazakhstan and celebrate many significant milestones, including Canada 150 and 25 years of partnership. Hockey unites.

The Canadian Embassy in Kazakhstan is celebrating Canada 150 with hockey events that promote the themes of the anniversary, particularly youth and inclusivity. The initiative will raise money for youth sport in Kazakhstan while demonstrating that hockey is for everyone, regardless of age or gender. Brought together by a love for the game, “hockey diplomacy” provides Canada with a unique opportunity to conduct engaging diplomatic outreach in Kazakhstan.

Organized by the Embassy, four major hockey events have already taken place. The Embassy is also preparing for a signature weekend in May. Canada 150 Hockey Days in Kazakhstan began with an outdoor youth game in Almaty. The next event was organized to support Zamandas 21, a Kazakhstani non-profit dedicated to promoting youth sport. The largest event to date was the River Hockey Cup, the first pond hockey tournament ever held in Kazakhstan! More recently, the Embassy participated in Canada National Film Day with a screening of The Rocket Public enthusiasm for all of the events has been beyond expectations. Through hockey, the messages of youth and inclusivity are resonating in Kazakhstan. Hockey is a movement.

Almaty outdoor youth hockey

Ambassador Steil facing Canadian players Brendan Shinnimin, Corey Trivino, and Dustin Boyd of local KHL team Barys Astana.

The outdoor youth hockey game in Almaty coincided with the opening of the 2017 Winter Universiade. Athletes from the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams were in attendance.

For young players and spectators alike, the highlight was an informal “shinny” game and hockey masterclass hosted by the Canadian athletes! The event was held in partnership with local organization, Sport Concept.  This initiative was supported by money raised in 2016 for youth hockey in Kazakhstan events.

Zamandas 21

Youth development is a central theme of Canada 150.  The Embassy is reaching out to Kazakhstani youth through Canada’s support of the Zamandas 21 hockey initiative.

Zamandas 21 is a foundation dedicated to promoting youth sport in Kazakhstan. Last year Canada donated 1.5 million tenge (CAD 6,300.00) to the foundation so young hockey players could purchase new equipment in partnership with Bauer.

Pond hockey

On February 19, the Embassy hosted a pond hockey tournament on the Ishim River in Astana, in partnership with the Astana Akimat and Kazakhstan Amateur Hockey League. Twenty-four teams participated, 16 adult and 8 youth. The tournament was also joined by members of Tomiris, a local women’s hockey team.

This was the first pond hockey tournament Kazakhstani history. The highlight was an exhibition game featuring Ambassador Steil and Canadian stars from the local KHL team, Barys Astana.

The tournament celebrated Canada 150 with some good old-fashioned fun based on inclusivity and a mutual Canada-Kazakhstan love of hockey.

Canada film night

On April 19, the Embassy held a screening of The Rocket, a film about legendary French-Canadian hockey player Maurice Richard. The event celebrated National Film Day, an occasion to screen Canadian films worldwide.. Special guests included youth hockey players affiliated with the Zamandas 21 program.

Ambassador Steil hosted another film night. He welcomed players from local women’s hockey team Tomiris for a screening of Manon Rhéaume,. This documentary tells the story about the one and only woman to play hockey in the NHL.

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