It all started in Chamonix

It is 11 November 1908. Sports enthusiast Emil Procházka has just delivered an application for the approval of the Czech Ice Hockey Association to the Office of the Vicegerent for the Kingdom of Bohemia. That is when it began.

World Champions

The Czech team won its first world medal at a championship in Prague – a bronze. The first title of world champions came two years after the end of World War II, in 1947, and again in Prague. At the next world championship in Stockholm, Sweden in 1949, the Czech team won another title and it took a long 23 years to make it back to the top. At the 1972 championship in Prague, the team including the legends Ivan Hlinka or Vladimír Martinec came out unbeaten and returned to the throne. Four years later, nearly the same team added another gold and retained it a year later for the first time. 

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Nagano Olympics And the Golden Hattrick

The first Czech gold medal came in 1996 in Vienna. Two years later, the team featuring Dominik Hašek and Jaromír Jágr reached the first and only Czech Olympic triumph in Nagano. In 1999, 2000 and 2001, the Czech team managed to win the championship three times in a row, a feat achieved only by Czechia, Canada, and the USSR. 

When the Vítkovice forward David Moravec scored the golden goal in the finals against Finland, commentator Robert Záruba shouted the legendary line: “Welcome, Golden Hattrick. We are world champions three times in a row!” It was 13 May 2001, the climax of the greatest period of Czech hockey. There have been two more world titles since then – in 2005 and 2010. The last global medal came two years ago – the bronze from the 85th World Championship in Tampere, Finland.

🥇 Not Only the Male Team

The Czech female ice hockey is gradually claiming its place in the spotlight. In 2022 and 2023, the women won their first two medals – both bronze. And we should not forget hockey players with disabilities. The team is gaining more and more attention, with their first international bronze medals from the 2023 Para Hockey Cup in Canada. Prague and Ostrava hosted a world championship in 2015. The Czech team with the legendary captain Jaromír Jágr ended up in the semifinals, having lost to Finland 0:3. This year, the global ice hockey elite is to return to the two cities after nine years. The sixteen-day tournament begins on 10 May. The Czech team coached by Radim Rulík aspires to fight for the medals. “I believe we are on the right track,” says the 2010 world champion Jakub Voráček.

TEXT: Jiří Tomaškovič
PHOTO: Shutterstock.com, Jarba / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0 DEED)
The whole article is to be found in the spring issue of the 
Leo Express magazine 

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