Hockey Canada Network |
The Czech Republic and Slovakia'border Rivals'
Krista Nymark
December 23, 2002

The Czech Republic and Slovakia will not meet in round robin play at the 2003 IIHF World U20 Championship. The two countries are separated by pools, the Czechs in Group A and the Slovaks in Group B. This separation is not unfamiliar to the two countries and its players.

Once a single nation, Czechoslovakia was the only country to have a winning record against Canada in the World Junior Hockey Championship. In 1992, after several years of political and economic instability within the country, Slovakia declared itself a sovereign state and thus began the fall of Czechoslovakia.

Now two individual countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have become hockey rivals. Players who once played together under the same flag are now on separate teams and hearing different national anthems.

Slovakia has clawed its way up the ranks from Pool C into Pool A. After the fall of the nation, the Slovaks had their work cut out for them. It was deemed that most of the players of the former Czechoslovakia were from the Czech region. The IIHF ruled that the Czech Republic should therefore stay in Pool A and the newly formed Slovakia would be put in Pool C.

By 1996 the Slovaks proved that they were ‘a force to be reckoned with’ and qualified for that year’s World Junior Hockey Championship. By the 1999 World Junior Tournament, they had proved themselves as a prominent team by winning the Bronze medal. Their talent pool is impressive considering that the country only has 15,000 registered hockey players as compared to Canada’s 560,000, and only 40 operational arenas.

In 2002, Slovakia shut out the Czech Republic 1-0. They also tied Switzerland, Sweden and the United States only to finish eighth in the tournament. The Czech Republic finished seventh last year after winning two consecutive gold medals in 20.

Both the Czech Republic and Slovakia are proud of their individual rosters which include many NHL draftees. As the quest for gold heats up in Halifax, Slovakia may have a slight advantage over their rivals as far as a comfort level is concerned. The Halifax Metro Centre is home to the Halifax Mooseheads, a QMJHL team. Five of Slovakia’s players are currently playing in the QMJHL and play in the competition arena several times during their seasons. For Milan Jucina, the Metro Centre is his home arena as he is a player for the Halifax QMJHL team. Perhaps this familiarity will give the Slovak’s a slight edge over the rival Czech’s who have only one player from the league.

This year, both teams are looking to improve on their disappointing finishes in 2002. They will meet head to head in pre tournament competition and not again until a possible meeting after the round robin portion of the tournament is complete. The rivalry is relatively new but intense considering the short period of time since the split of the former Czechoslovakia. Taking the history of the two counties into consideration it is sure to be a rivalry that will last for years to come.

For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada

Jason LaRose
Manager, Content Services
Hockey Canada

Kristen Lipscombe
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada

2014 Esso Cup: SUD 3 - EDM 2
Apr 23, 2014
A pair of power play goals in the second led Sudbury to its third win.
2014 Esso Cup: FRA 7 – MON 2
Apr 23, 2014
The Phantom fired 50 shots on net in picking up its first win of the Esso Cup.
2014 TELUS Cup: HAL 3 - CHA 7
Apr 23, 2014
Eight players had multi-point games to lead Châteauguay to its first win.
2014 TELUS Cup: TOR 4 - MJ 2
Apr 23, 2014
Marco Bozzo’s hat trick helped the Young Nationals to another win.
2014 Esso Cup: STC 3 - WEY 2
Apr 23, 2014
The Sabres scored three in the first and hung on to defeat the Gold Wings.
2014 TELUS Cup: OKA 1 - PA 1
Apr 23, 2014
Kjargaard and Bryshun traded goals in yet another tie game.
2014 Esso Cup: WEY 3 - FRA 2
Apr 22, 2014
Caitlin Dempsey’st wo goals paced Weyburn past Fraser Valley.
2014 Esso Cup: MON 5 - EDM 4
Apr 22, 2014
Faith Steeves netteda hat trip to leadthe Rockets to itsfirst win.
2014 TELUS Cup: PA 1 - CHA 1
Apr 22, 2014
Goaltending stole the show as the Mintos and Grenadiers tied.
2014 Esso Cup STC 2 – SUD 1
Apr 22, 2014
A shorthanded goal from Alexa Vasko late in the second was the difference.
2014 TELUS Cup: TOR 3 - HFX 0
Apr 22, 2014
Longo a marqué deux fois pour procurer un premier gain aux Young Nationals.
2014 TELUS Cup: MJ 3 - OKA 3
Apr 22, 2014
Another tie for both the Generals and Rockets, this time a 3-3 game.
Photo Credit: