After the last game of Zenit this year the field will be replaced by temporary ice rink. Two hit games should bring sell-out crowds of up to 70,000 each, according to organisers.
Vice-president of SKA Petersburg and member of board of directors at KHL (Continental Hockey League) Roman Rotenberg announced that his hockey club will clash with rivals from another conference, CSKA Moskva, at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. The game is scheduled for Dec 22.
Thanks to the closing roof and sliding field the building is suitable to host non-football events and protect fans from potentially harsh weather. The event will come in combination with a second hockey fixture, the Channel One Cup game between Russia and Finland, on December 16.
Two games in just a week should make the entire project financially viable. Rotenberg expressed hope that both games will be magnetic enough to draw sell-out crowds of up to 70,000 on both occasions.
The hockey calendar will not collide with Zenit's football games. The Premier League team will end this year's fixtures on December 9, against Rubin Kazan. This should give a week for preparation of the hockey rink.
We should also note that so far this season Zenit has been putting the rest of Russia to shame in terms of attendance. The team so far enjoys an average crowd of 51,357 after five games. While no game has been sold out, the clash against Spartak Moskva saw 95% of available seats occupied.