Turkmen Ice Hockey League 2018ASHGABAT, TURKMENISTAN | NOV. 3 - 11, 2018

It is a unique opportunity for hockey enthusiasts and adventurous travelers to participate in a peace and friendship building event in the heart of Central Asia.

The Turkmen Ice Hockey League (TIHL) is hosted by the Turkmen national hockey champion, professional team Galkan HC, who comprise more than 75% of the Turkmen national team.  Turkmenistan receives fewer tourists than both Afghanistan and North Korea, making the TIHL a sports event unlike any other.  You will play both alongside and against the Galkan HC team in the afternoon, and explore Ashgabat during the day. In addition to the much anticipated overnight homestay in Nohur, this year’s event will see players travel to the Darvaza Gas Crater also known as ‘The Door of Hell’, one of the most surreal locations in Central Asia.  Spectators will have the option of checking out the action in the arena or joining their tour guides for some more exploring.

Highlights

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Ice hockey exhibition with the Galkan HC national champion

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Site visits to discover Ashgabat, Kow Ata, Nohur and more

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Trip to 'The Door of Hell', Konye-Urgench and Dashoguz

About the event

The Turkmen Ice Hockey League (TIHL) 2018 is a sporting event utilizing a shared passion for hockey as a medium to develop friendship, trust and genuine cultural exchange between the people of the Turkmenistan, North America, and the international community at large.  The exchange will have the added benefits of supporting the development of Hockey as well as sports programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the DPRK.

International hockey players and teams will participate in a series of games and practices hosted by the prestigious Galkan HC professional hockey team.  At the end of the week,  participants will have the opportunity to play in our world-renowned Friendship Game, which sees international and local players form teams to play side by side.

  • Ice hockey exhibition with the Galkan HC Professional Team
    You will meet the Galkan HC professional ice hockey national team (champion of the national hockey championship in Turkmenistan) for training sessions and games throughout the week. The final game will see both international and local players join forces for a casual friendship game!
  • Site visits in Ashgabat, Kow Ata and Nohur
    After the games, we will undertake site visits to discover one the most secretive nations on earth. You will be taken around Ashgabat, including the Ashgabat Hippodrome, Tolkuchka Bazaar and the Equestrian and Sport State Complex of Akhal Teke horses. You will also visit the city’s top restaurants and bars. The tour includes trips outside Ashgabat to the underground lakes of Kow Ata and a mountain homestay in Nohur.
  • Opportunity to travel to ‘The Door of Hell’ (Darvaza Gas Crater), Konye-Urgench and Dashoguz
    In 1971, scientists lit the Darvaza Gas Crater on fire as a means of controlling the spread of methane. More than 47 years later, it’s still burning. Those who want to stay a few more days with us have the opportunity not just to visit Darvaza, but to spend a night camping beside it! After seeing what’s arguably the most breathtaking and incredible natural sight in Central Asia, we’ll take you to Konye-Urgench, the ancient capital of the wealthy Persian Khorezm empire and Dashoguz, at the Northern Turkmen border with Uzbekistan.

Partners

The Turkmen Ice Hockey League 2018 is being organized by Howe International Consulting Group (HICG) and Lupine Travel.

Who can participate?

If your idea of the perfect vacation is a weekend in Vegas or a trip to an all-inclusive beach resort, the HIFL might not be your best bet.  We’re looking for truly adventurous, curious and open-minded global citizens who are passionate about the world and its people.  Our past participants have included first time adventurists and expert nomads, skilled rookies and seasoned veterans, solo travellers and large groups.  Simply put, if you think it sounds fun and are willing to keep an open mind – get in touch!

The Hockey Scene in-country

Hockey is a relatively new phenomenon in the secluded, desert nation of Turkmenistan.  In 2006, the President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov ordered the construction of an ice palace in the foothills of Kopet Dag.  Four more indoor rinks soon followed, giving aspiring hockey players their first opportunities to train year-round.

The sport shot to prominence following the 2012 appearance of newly-elected President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov’s at the country’s first youth tournament, in which he ordered state ministries to form a hockey league as part of the “Week of Health and Happiness”.  Of the 8 ministries who eventually laced up the skates, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan was the first to begin formal training under the team name Galkan HC.

TURKMENISTAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Galkan HC took advantage of their early start and never looked back.  By 2014, the remaining 7 teams had been formed, so Turkmenistan launched its first annual championship.  Galkan HC came out on top, followed by Shir HC, which was formed by the Commodity Exchange of Turkmenistan.  Now entering its fifth season, the Turkmenistan Championship has been won by a single team every year – Galkan HC.

In addition to the Turkmenistan Championship, Galkan HC are regular competitors in the International Tournament for the Turkmenistan President’s Cup, held annually in Ashgabat.  There, they take on the best club teams from around the former Soviet Union on home ice and always put on a good show.

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

Galkan HC’s dominance is so ingrained in Turkmen hockey that when the national team of Turkmenistan enters international tournaments, more than 75% of the players are selected from Galkan HC.

The countries first showing on the international hockey scene took place at the 2017 at Asian Winter Games, where they went undefeated and boasted an impressive 47 goals for, and only 6 against.  Next up came the 2018 IIHF Division 3 Qualifying tournament where they once again went undefeated, including a 24-2 victory over Kuwait.  As a result, Turkmenistan will now compete in the 3rd division of the 2019 event.  In a few years’ time, you might just see them competing against fellow Friendship-Leaguers from North Korea in the 2nd division.

This section is for informational purposes only and its content is subject to change.

The Turkmen Ice Hockey League 2018 is a 7 day trip combining ice hockey trainings and games with the Galkan HC professional team with site visits of the most popular tourist attractions in Turkmenistan. Additionally, an optional 3 day trip (Unknown Turkmenistan Extension) to remote central and northern parts of the country, including visits to “The Door of Hell” (Darvaza) and Konye-Urgench as well as Dashoguz, is made available to all participants.

TOUR PROGRAM

  • Day 1

    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan — Arrival

    First day in Turkmenistan | Saturday

    Arrive at Ashgabat airport early morning and transfer to your hotel to drop luggage off before starting a tour of the capital.

    13.30: Meet-up and hotel check-in
    14.30-17.30: Ashgabat city tour
    17.30-19.00: Drinks and evening briefing about the tour
    19.30-: Dinner at local restaurant
    Overnight at hotel in Ashgabat

  • Day 2

    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan — Friendly game

    First game and Horse Cultural Day | Sunday

    9.00-12.00: Visit of the Geok Depe horse farm Horse riding included for Premiums
    12.00-14.00: Lunch at local restaurant
    14.00-17.00: Akhal-Teke Horse Monument
    17.00-20.00: Ice hockey friendly game with Galkan HC
    20.00-21.00: Dinner at traditional restaurant
    21.00-: Free evening for participants to go out
    Overnight at hotel

  • Day 3

    Nohur, Turkmenistan

    Overnight homestay | Monday

    9.00-12.00: Ice hockey training session with Galkan HC
    12.00-14.00: Lunch at restaurant
    14.00-17.00: Travel to Nohur, visit Kow Ata cave and swim in the underground lake
    19.30-21.00: Dinner at homestay
    Overnight at homestay

  • Day 4

    Nohur and Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

    Return to Ashgabat and game | Tuesday

    9.00-12.00: Nohur city tour
    12.00-17.00: Return to Ashgabat and lunch at local restaurant
    17.00-20.00: Ice hockey friendly game with Galkan HC
    20.00-21.00: Dinner at traditional restaurant
    21.00-: Beer bar evening

    Overnight at hotel

  • Day 5

    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

    Hockey games and trainings | Wednesday

    9.00-12.00: Ice hockey training session with Galkan HC
    12.00-14.00: Lunch at local restaurant
    14.00-17.00: Participant free time 9 rounds of golf at the Ashgabat Golf Club for Premiums
    17.00-20.00: Ice hockey friendly game with Galkan HC
    20.00-21.00: Dinner at traditional restaurant
    21.00-: Participant free time
    Overnight at hotel

  • Day 6

    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

    Friendship Game Day | Thursday

    9.00-12.00: Visit Equestrian and Sport State Complex of Akhal Teke horses
    12.00-14.00: Lunch at Festival Village
    14.00-17.00: Participant free time
    17.00-20.00: Final Game
 TURKMEN ICE HOCKEY LEAGUE FRIENDSHIP GAME
    20.00: Friendship dinner
    Overnight at hotel

  • Day 7

    Ashgabat, Turkmenistan — Departure

    Last day in country and departure | Friday

    9.00-12.00: Free morning in the city
    12.00-14.00: Lunch and tour end

+3 DAY UNKNOWN TURKMENISTAN EXTENSION
BEHIND-THE-SCENES TRIP

Darvaza Gas Crater, Konye-Urgench and Dashoguz

  • Day 7

    The Door of Hell (Darvaza Gas Crater), Turkmenistan

    Travel to the Darvaza Gas Crater and overnight stay | Friday

    13.00-18.00: Travel to Darvaza
    19.00-21.00: Dinner at campsite
    Overnight in campground

  • Day 8

    Konye-Urgench and Dashoguz, Turkmenistan

    Visit the ancient capital of the wealthy Persian Khorezm empire | Saturday

    8.00-12.00: Drive to Konye-Urgench to admire its impressive ancient mausoleums and minarets
    12.00-18.00: Travel to Dashoguz, lunch and site visits
    19.30-21.00: Dinner at local restaurant
    Overnight at hotel

  • Day 9

    Dashoguz — Departure

    Discover the Northern Turkmen border with Uzbekistan | Sunday

    8.00-12.30 – City tour of Dashoguz
    14.00 – Flight back to Ashgabat. Tour end.
    Special gift for premiums: Turkmen sports tracksuit

This section is for informational purposes only and its content is subject to change.

REGULAR TOUR PROGRAM

November 3-9, 2018
7 days, 6 nights
Ashgabat | Kow Ata | Nohur | Ashgabat

Total cost per person:
2,100 USD | $100 Early bird discount available


+3 DAY UNKNOWN TURKMENISTAN EXTENSION | Behing-the-scenes trip to Darvaza and Dashoguz

November 9-11, 2018
(Add 3 days and 2 nights)
Ashgabat | Darvaza | Konye-Urgench | Dashoguz

Total cost per person:
3.000 USD | $100 Early bird discount available


WHAT’S INCLUDED | Regular Tour Program

Regular tours are inclusive of:

  • Minimum 3 hockey games and 2 trainings
  • Guides and translators
  • Group transport throughout your stay
  • Three meals per day as well as snacks periodically
  • Accommodation – basic room based on double occupancy
  • Entrance fees to all excursions
  • Tickets to all tournament games and events
  • Tournament jersey + one for local player
  • Basic $50,000 travel insurance policy
  • Donation to support sports programs for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the DPRK

Learn more about our Sports Programs for Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities.

PREMIUM TOUR PROGRAM

November  3-9, 2018
7 days, 6 nights
Ashgabat | Kow Ata | Nohur | Ashgabat

Total cost per person:
3,100 USD | $200 Early bird discount available


+3 DAY UNKNOWN TURKMENISTAN EXTENSION | Behing-the-scenes trip to Darvaza and Dashoguz

November 9-11, 2018
(Add 3 days and 2 nights)
Ashgabat | Darvaza | Konye-Urgench | Dashoguz

Total cost per person: 
3,800 USD | $200 Early bird discount available


WHAT’S INCLUDED | Premium Tour Program

In addition to perks mentioned in the Regular Packages, Premium Packages are inclusive of:

  • Private airport transfers in Ashgabat
  • Private room
  • 9 rounds of golf at the Ashgabat Golf Club
  • Horse riding at the Geok Depe horse farm
  • Turkmen sports tracksuit (+3 day extension only)
  • Dedicated photographer for premium participants
  • Extra $129,000 travel insurance policy

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Visa fee
  • Immigration duty (14 USD p/p)
  • International flights to Ashgabat
  • Camera fees at sites
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses

Safety

The safety and wellbeing of Howe International Friendship League participants is of the utmost concern to us.  We regularly monitor the situation in all host destinations and maintain close contact with local community members.  If we feel that the security situation in a host country has deteriorated to the point that an event cannot continue, the HIFL will provide a full refund of all monies paid.

Our events always have a very friendly, easy-going vibe.  There won’t be much rough stuff.  That being said we recognize that injuries are always a possibility in any athletic sport.  For your wellbeing, trained first aid attendants will be present at all HIFL events.

All participants are required to show proof of sufficient travel insurance prior to embarking on their adventure.

How can we help you?

Please feel free to contact us with any question or concern you might have regarding our events.

Call for female participation in the PIHL 2018

The Pyongyang Ice Hockey League 2018 is an incredible opportunity to go down in history as one of the first female hockey players to play against the DPRK Women National Team! Don’t miss out.

Sport has a unique way of forging cross-cultural connections where few previously existed. Join us to bring changing perspectives in the lives of remote communities.

Gordon Israel
Managing Partner, Howe International
Pyongyang Ice Hockey League 2019
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Turkmen Ice Hockey League 2018
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Looking for a unique, ethical and adventurous experience?