This was the ending all Czech ice hockey fans secretly feared: going out early at the 68th Ice Hockey World Championship. Now, it has happened: Wednesday night 17, 360 fans at the Sazka Arena watched as the Czechs were downed by Team USA in a nail-biter filled with plenty of chances and fast-skating, but also mistakes and missed opportunities.
After a week of some Czech players' complaining they weren't getting any opportunity to measure their skills against tougher opponents, fans saw a real corker of a game Monday night as the Czechs faced off against traditional rival Canada at the Ice Hockey World Championship. The two teams have done battle on countless occasions, but it was the Czechs who persevered on Monday with an exciting 6 -2 win. They made it look easy even when events around them almost got ugly. Jan Velinger explains.
Banik Ostrava have won their first Czech football league title in 23 years, triggering huge celebrations in the north Moravian city. Police have arrested a Synot official and a linesman over allegations of match-fixing. At the World Ice Hockey Championships, the Czech Republic have won five games out of five but face their toughest test yet in a game against Canada on Monday evening.
The Czech Republic have advanced to the second phase of the World Ice Hockey Championships, after securing first place in their group with a 5:1 win over Germany in Prague on Wednesday night. The Czech football team, meanwhile, were beaten in a home friendly by Japan. And boxer Rudolf Kraj's dreams of a second Olympic medal have been dashed.
In Canada it is referred to simply as "The Game", a national sport, a spectator passion, and a winter pastime. But, Canadians are far from alone in their passion: though they may have invented ice hockey, this sport more than any other, carries similar resonance for the Czechs, whose own hockey tradition reaches back to the turn of the 20th century. It may have taken them forty years to become world champions and ninety to win Olympic gold, but few doubt the Czechs' place in the world of hockey today. They have stars in the NHL and one of the best
The Czech Republic has been gripped by ice hockey fever, with the sport's World Championships due to start in Prague and Ostrava on Saturday. On the eve of the competition, the biggest Czech hockey star of all time, Jaromir Jagr, talks about the Czech team's chance of success, the passion Czechs have for the sport and how his club team-mates from North America will enjoy visiting the Czech Republic with their national teams.
The Czech ice hockey team have had mixed results in their last competitive games before the World Championships, which get underway in Prague on Saturday. Meanwhile, coach Lener says selecting a squad will not be easy, with several Czech NHL stars now available. In football, leaders Ostrava have found their winning touch again, while internationals Rosicky and Smicer are both back after injury. And in tennis, Iveta Benesova has been defeated in the final of the Estoril Open in Portugal.
Jaromir Jagr returns to the Czech Rep to train for the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championships; goalie Tomas Vokoun backstops the Nashville Predators to an important win over the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup play-offs; Sparta Prague downs Pilsen to keep chances against Ostrava Banik alive; and Jiri Welsch is set to make NBA history as the first Czech to ever appear in a post-season NBA game.
Prague's new state-of-the-art ice hockey arena saw its first game on Sunday, when Slavia Prague took on Hame Zlin in the third game of the Extraliga playoff finals. In the NHL, Patrik Elias was the Czech player with the most points in the regular season. In football news, Sparta Prague have played their first game under new coach, and former Sparta star, Frantisek Straka. Elsewhere, Ostrava slipped up at Zlin while Olomouc have gone second, at least for a short time.
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