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Exclusive: A Dhs20 million ice rink is opening in Dubai this year

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A brand new professional ice rink is set to open in November of this year, Time Out Dubai can exclusively reveal.

The state-of-the-art Dhs20 million facility promises to be the “first professional ice rink in the entire Middle East” and be a top-class facility aimed at training ice hockey and ice skating stars of the future.

While ice rinks, such as the one in Dubai Mall, have been in the region for some time, this will be the first of its kind to be specifically designed with athletes in mind as the optimal temperature on the ice remains at the international standard.

With a capacity of 526, the rink will also host events including regular Emirates Ice Hockey League matches, figure skating competitions and e-sports competitions.

Based in Dubai Sports City, near the Emirates Sports Hotel, it will be the latest high-quality sports facility in the emirate.

The ice rink under construction
The ice rink under construction (Credit: Emirates Sports Group).

The Emirates Sports Ice Rink has been built by Emirates Sports Group and has officially been in the planning for the past three years.

While the ice rink facility is aimed at professionals, it will be available for use by the public as well.

The facility is specifically built with ice sports in mind and the temperature is maintained at international ice hockey standards of between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. This is significantly lower than the temperature at the Dubai Mall rink for example.

The ice rink will have a soft launch in November 2024 with tentative plans for a mini ice hockey tournament and ice skating show for its grand opening.

The Dubai sports city ice rink
A render of the Emirates Sports Ice Rink DSC (Credit: Emirates Sports Group).

Emirates Sports, run by former president of Emirates Ice Hockey League and owner of the Dubai Mighty Camels team Vladimir Burdun, has been working on making the sport more professional in the Middle East.

While teams are professional in name, the lack of proper facilities until now has meant that the quality of the league has struggled to grow, Burdun explains.

He said: “For me, the difference between the top professional sportsmen and the semi-pros is that the level of preparation is higher and the amount of training athletes go through.

“The best hockey players have played since school, then the junior league before stepping up to the professional level.

The ice rink will make ice hockey more professional in the UAE
The ice rink will make ice hockey more professional in the UAE (Credit: Emirates Sports).

“In the Emirates League, most of the guys who have finished playing high-level professional hockey and live in the UAE or guys who have never played pro.

“That’s the difference between the pro leagues and the semi-pro and that’s not a criticism of the UAE league. The quality is excellent and better than the rest of the Middle East. It’s a high level for Asia but not as good as in China, Japan or Korea.

“But with this rink, we are building the quality of ice hockey. The teams can practice, play games and take it more seriously.”

Vladimir Burdan pictured on the ice rink with his Dubai Mighty Camels team
Vladimir Burdun (in white) with his Dubai Mighty Camels team (Credit: Emirates Sports Group)

The aim of the rink is to grow the popularity of ice sports in the UAE from a younger age and to develop skaters and hockey players from a younger age.

Will you be checking it out?

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