Hockey in Kazakhstan dates back to the 1950s when the first teams were created in what was then a Soviet Republic. Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk became Kazakhstan's best team and in 1987-88 it made its debut in the top Soviet league after playing in lower divisions for many years.
Federatsiya Hokkeya Kazakhstana (the Kazakhstan Ice Hockey Federation) was created as part of the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation in 1991. It became a separate organization when Kazakhstan gained its independence in 1992, uniting the region's four teams -- Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk, ShVSM Ust-Kamenogorsk, Bulat Temirtau, and Automobilist Karaganda (later Bulat Karaganda). The Kazakhstan National Team made its debut at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix tournament on April 14, 1992 and beat the Ukrainian National Team 5-1. On May 6, 1992 Kazakhstan became a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation and in 1993 the National Team made its World Championship debut by winning the bronze medal at the "C" Pool World Championships in Slovenia. In 2000 at the "B" Pool Championships, Kazakhstan continued their asscent with a second place finish to claim the silver medal. Kazakhstan's first major upset on the international stage took place when it stunned Canada in the fifth place game at the 1997 World Junior Championships. A few weeks later at Nagano the Olympic team earned respect by winning their Preliminary Round group ahead of Slovakia and losing 4-1 to Canada in the quarter finals.
Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk became the first Kazakh national champion in 1993, though all four Kazakhstan teams continued to compete among the Russian clubs after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Until 1996, Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk and Bulat Karaganda played in the Inter-State Hockey League.
The best hockey player developed in Kazakhstan to date is Boris Alexandrov, who played for the Moscow Central Red Army and the the Soviet National Team in the late 1970s. Alexandrov won an Olympic gold medal with the Soviet team in 1976. Kazakh native Yevgeny Poladjev played for Spartak and the Soviet National Team in the late 1960s and early '70s. Andrei Raisky of Kazakhstan was signed by the Winnipeg Jets in 1992 and played in the club's farm system. Konstantin Shafranov made his NHL debut with the St. Louis Blues in 1996-97. However the biggest splash by a player from Kazakhstan may come in the near future. In 1998, the Toronto Maple Leafs made Nikolai Antropov their first round draft choice; the highest a player from Kazakhstan had ever been taken in the NHL Entry Draft. Antropov surprised many by making a quick jump to the NHL becoming a Maple Leaf regular in 1999-2000; scoring 12 goals and 30 points.