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10-26-2011, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by kaiser matias View Post
Somewhere that I could definitely see some rapid growth in hockey is Croatia. They had a team (KHL Medvescak) join the Austrian League in 2009 and have had instant success. The team plays a few games per year in a 15,000 seat arena in Zagreb and sells it out, giving the team something like the 5th highest average attendence of all European club teams (that includes KHL). When you factor in that the team is being used to develop Croatian players and I do believe they have a youth system as well, it bodes well. Croatian players now have a hometown team in a fairly decent league to strive for, and as long as the federation keeps working on it there could be some results within a matter of years.
Unfortunately its not that simple.

Medveščak is typical "franchise" team. Fans, team, two big arenas, pr.. and that's about it. Only connection it has with Croatian hockey is the location of the team.

That team isn't the team that will develop our players. Med2, Zagreb and Mladost are.. but that's another story...

Medveščak did awesome things for hockey in Croatia. In 2 years the sport basically got from almost completely irrelevant to mainstream... but now we're on crossroads.. either use that hype to expand the hockey base (rinks, clubs, player pool) or be at this level.. well.. forever.

We'll see what the future brings... we have some exciting upcoming talent but that's not because of the well establishes youth system but because surprisingly a lot of parents sent their kids to play abroad from very young age. Czechs, Slovaks, Austrians and co are making the players for us..

It works in football tho.. why not in hockey

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