Tuesday is a real red letter day for Czech sports fans, as a number of special events are being held to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Czech Ice Hockey Association. The celebrations include the induction of dozens of people into the Czech hockey Hall of Fame, and culminate with a friendly game between the Czech Republic and Slovakia in Prague.
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic’s handball team scores a famous victory over the Olympic champions France in a European Championships qualifier in Brno; the Czech Republic play Slovakia on Tuesday in a friendly game to mark 100 years of ice hockey in this part of the world; in football, Slavia concede their first goal at Eden this season, though two strikes from wonder-boy Necid gives them a 2:1 win over Brno; and the greatest Czech sumo wrestler ever calls it a day.
Czech hockey centre forward Tomáš Plekanec had his best game of the NHL season so far with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, notching up two goals and two assists to help his team sink the New York Islanders. The Habs won the game by a score of 5:4. Prior to the game, Plekanec had racked up just three points in nine matches.
In Sports News this Monday: Rudolf Kraj fails to become the first Czech professional world boxing champion after his WBC cruiserweight title fight with Italy’s Giacobbe Fragomeni is halted in the eighth round – Kraj says the referee favoured his opponent; in football, Sparta Prague get their first win under Jozef Chovanec; Bohemians 1905 go top of the second division and celebrate the anniversary of a famous league title; and Czech ice hockey player Rostislav Klesla accidentally knocks out the New York Rangers coach.
Czech forward Tomáš Fleischmann notched up one goal, one assist for the Washington Capitols in the team’s 4:3 win over Pittsburgh, helping turn around a game that already appeared lost. Fleischmann scored his team’s opener when the Caps were down 3:0 in the first two periods. In other hockey action, 32-year-old Florida Panthers goalie Tomáš Vokoun had a poor game against Minnesota. The goalie allowed four goals in two periods and was pulled by the team coach. Florida lost by a final score of 6:2.
New York Rangers won the second of two historic NHL ice hockey games at Prague’s O2 Arena on Sunday night. Rangers beat Tampa Bay Lightning 2:1, the same result as in the two clubs' first encounter on Saturday, which was the first NHL match ever played in the Czech Republic. Commentators agreed that Sunday’s game was far superior to the season opener, both in terms of play and atmosphere. The newspaper Sport reported that there was a high chance NHL games could be played in the Czech Republic again next year.
In Sports News this Monday: history is made with the first NHL games ever held in the Czech Republic taking place in Prague, New York Rangers twice beating Tampa Bay Lightning to get their season off to a perfect start; Tomáš Berdych wins his fourth ATP title and is once again the highest ranked Czech men’s tennis player; and Mladá Boleslav go top in the Czech football league, for 24 hours at least.
Some disappointment has been expressed over the first NHL ice hockey game ever held in the Czech Republic. New York Rangers beat Tampa Bay Lightning 2:1 in a curtain-raiser for the new NHL season at Prague’s O2 Arena in front of almost 17,000 fans on Saturday evening. However, Czech media outlets reported that there was little atmosphere at the game and, with a number of new players on each team, the standard of hockey was not particularly high. Tampa’s Czech forward Václav Prospal said afterwards that fans at NHL games normally did not cheer on their teams as much as supporters in the Czech Extraliga; Prospal said he himself was not disappointed with the atmosphere, and had not expected two sets of hard-core fans. The second game in the two-match series takes place on Sunday evening.
The first NHL ice hockey game ever held in the Czech Republic began at 6 pm on Saturday at Prague’s O2 Arena. Tampa Bay Lightning faced New York Rangers in the first of two matches, with the second being held on Sunday. The cheapest tickets were priced at CZK 1,990 (USD 111). NHL officials decided to hold the the first games of the 2008-2009 season in Prague and the Swedish capital Stockholm in order to increase the international profile of the North American league.