Ukrainian Hockey Club Rebuilding After Donbass Arena Looted And Burned
The home arena of Ukrainian ice hockey club Donbass was looted and burned during armed clashes in Donetsk, jeopardizing the squad's chances for participation in the Kontinental Hockey League next season. The arena Druzhba was set on fire early on Tuesday amidst clashes between Ukrainian army forces and pro-Russian militia. The squad's management says that the arena was looted before it was set on fire, insisting that pro-Russian militia were behind the attack. Donbass President Boris Kolesnikov said, "The club's players, management and thousands of fans are indignant because of the bandit actions from representatives of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, who staged an assault on the arena Druzhba, looting it and setting it on fire."
CLEAN UP BEGINS: The club published a schedule of renovation works on its web site, which states the arena should be fully operable by late August, when the KHL's regular season is to begin. However, Donbass' future in the KHL remains uncertain given the situation in Eastern Ukraine, and the fire only exacerbated that uncertainty. "There is a probability that [the situation] in Donetsk will stabilize and it will be possible to hold hockey games in the city," KHL Managing Dir Dmitry Kurbatov was quoted as saying by news agency ITAR-TASS. "But there are also factors making it impossible to play there in September."
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.