The ice hockey Extraliga season starts on September 14, with Kometa Brno
the favourite, having won the past two seasons. Among the other clubs in
the 14-member Extraliga with solid prospects this year are 2018 season
finalists Oceláři Třinec and semi-finalists Bílí Tygři Liberec.
Sparta Praha, which finished in the bottom half last year has taken on a new coach, German former defenseman Uwe Krupp, are tipped as likely strong contenders, as are Škoda Plzeň, which won the championship in 2013, finished last season in third place, and also has a new coach, Ladislav Čihák.
In Sports News this week: Seven Czechs to appear in first round of Wimbledon on Monday; Kvitová replaces Plíšková as Czech top seed in WTA rankings; Czechs take three medals at Canoe Slalom World Cup in Krakow; NHL: St-Louis trades Vladimir Sobotka to Buffalo Sabres; Tomáš Plekanec returns to Canadiens.
In the Czech Republic, ice hockey – not football – is arguably the national sport. Hockey has been a part of the culture since the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with the first league founded 110 years ago. With traditions running deep, it’s no wonder opinion is so passionately divided over the design of the new Czech Ice Hockey Association jersey.
Opinion has been divided by the new strip of the Czech national ice hockey
team, which sees the traditional state symbol replaced by a large
illustration of a lion wearing a crown.
The vast majority of respondents in a poll by the iDnes.cz news site said they did not like the national team’s new look, while the Czech player of the season David Pastrňák said he didn’t understand it and goaltender Ondřej Pavelec described it as a disgrace.
In contrast Martin Nečas, who was part of the Czech squad at this year’s world championships, said the jerseys were far nicer than the old ones. Now retired ice hockey great Patrik Eliáš said the lion was a national symbol and it was a great idea to use it as the symbol of the Czech team.
David Pastrňák has been presented with the Golden Hockey Stick for best
Czech ice hockey player of the year for the second time in a row. The
Boston Bruins forward, who is 22, finished ahead of Jakub Voráček of the
Philadelphia Flyers in the annual poll. In 2017 Pastrňák was the youngest
ever recipient of the award.
This year’s was the 50th edition of the Golden Hockey Stick. Jaromír Jágr has won it most times, with 12.
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