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Please don't blame soccer, why is hockey falling off the map in Czech and Slovakia?

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Old
12-30-2010, 06:16 AM
  #51
Muuri
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Which game is overall more popular in Slovakia or Czech republic? Hockey or football (yeah lets call it what it is) ?

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12-30-2010, 06:23 AM
  #52
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Which game is overall more popular in Slovakia or Czech republic? Hockey or football (yeah lets call it what it is) ?
I would say it´s really close in CZE. It seems that in colder months and around big hockey events, hockey dominates. The situation shifts once it gets warmer, the football league gets underway or major games are played (major qualifiers, major tournaments, cup competitions). It´s really very close. I personally love both sports equally Then there are other sports - floorball, basketball, handball e.g. which have quite a large fanbase but uncomparable with hockey and football.

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12-30-2010, 07:09 AM
  #53
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Pretty sure the Czechs just won the World Championship... how is hockey falling off the map there?

Junior hockey has no impact on the regular hockey world
. Everyone knows only Canada cares about junior hockey. And the U.S. is good because they have such a large population and a ton of money.
Yes it does. Where do you think future stars come from?

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12-30-2010, 07:17 AM
  #54
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Yes it does. Where do you think future stars come from?
Of course. But if you have let's say 4-5 good prospects in every year it should be enough to make competitive mens team. It's not enough to compete at WJC though.

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12-30-2010, 07:24 AM
  #55
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Judging the status of hockey from a junior tournament could be a little misleading and allow me to demonstrate what I mean.

Junior teams are usually made up of 19 & 18 year olds. That's a two year span. Senior teams are made up of players ranging from 19 to 37-38. That's a 18-19 year span.

Take the Czechs. Say they produce only 2 elite junior players every year. Within that 18-19 year span they can produce 36-38 elite players. You can ice only 20-22 players for a national team.

Now let's look at Canada. Let's exaggerate and claim they produce 18-20 elite players every year. In that 18-19 year span Canada will produce between 324 & 380 elite players but then again you can only dress 20-22 players for a national team.

So the Czechs, Slovaks, Finns, Swiss really only need to produce one to two quality players every year to have a competitive national team. The first three nations have been doing that and the Swiss seem to be there.

Now if you're looking at providing players for the NHL that's a different matter.

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12-30-2010, 07:24 AM
  #56
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I've mentioned it several time before but Finnish hockey magazine did an article on junior hockey early last year and Czech Republic's problems were listed by Vaclav Sykora (who's coached several teams in Finnish SM-liiga) as: kids being too lazy, not interested in sports in general, only video games and hanging around on the internet. Also the change in level of junior coaching was mentioned, "old pros" are charging too much for their services which isn't helped by the economic situation, too many uneducated dads coaching, the poor level of competition and coaching in junior leagues which is driving the more talented kids to North American junior leagues for the missing factors. I was informed upon my previous mentioning of this article by a poster that they're trying to fix the coaching issue though.

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12-30-2010, 07:26 AM
  #57
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Slovak problem is sometimes exaggerated by Slovaks. Slovakia has never been great at WJHC or U18 champs. For example, look at 2000 WJC roster - there were some interesting name - and now look at our position at that WJC - we finished at 9th place and almost we relegated to B division after loss to Ukraine in Game 1 of relegation series

However, Slovak hockey is in the crisis. No doubt. I'm sure the era of Bondra, Šatan, Pálffy, Švehla will never repeat - I think that was a really big coincidence because is almost impossible that players like these have met in one era, Slovakia has never had talents like these - it was golden age of our hockey. Potencial of Slovak hockey is bigger, but there are some problems like:

1) Impact of Mečiar's goverment - Have you ever heard about Vladimír Mečiar? I'm sure you have. His goverment (during 1994-98) nowadays still has big impact on our country. Big inflation, huge taxes, Mafia at police, murders are typical for his era - players who are playing now in our U20 team started with hockey in 1997/8/9 - during Mečiar's goverment and first years after it. During these years parents couldn't spend much money on son's equipment - in short, it was expensive for them.

2) Weak competition - I've read on Martin ReWay's status on Facebook that he can't understand children in Canada go to the practice rink during the Friday night instead of go to the city. Well, easy explanation - competition. He is one of the most talented player in Slovakia (better than Koyš I think), and he doesn't have any competition. He knows that he doesn't have to train hard because he doesn't have any competition and he still will be invited to national team.

3) Corruption - No comment.

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12-30-2010, 07:27 AM
  #58
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Floorball is evil. We should ban it.

The good news is that people around Czech hockey finally start to realize that we are in trouble. It was great when CZE won the 98' Olympics, three consecutive World Championships and two Junior World Championships but it led many of us believe that we were better than we actually were. Slavomír Lener & Co. are trying to rebuild our youth programs with Sweden being on the top of the countries to learn from.

This is a documentary show (in Czech, no subtitles) recently aired on one of Czech TV channels. It sparked some controversy as it shows a somewhat tragicomic picture of the Czech youth hockey system (crazy and pushy parents, a coach hitting a 7 year-old boy in his head etc.):

http://archiv.nova.cz/multimedia/prv...lati-hosi.html

Overall, I believe the reasons posted by Rogalo are spot on. An interesting fact is that Czech players generally tend to develop slower than their peers from other countries (not only in hockey). Take someone like Krejčí and Pavelec as examples, or even Plekanec, Havlát, Hemský, T. Kaberle, Eliáš, Hejduk... they were nowhere near the most sought-after players in their draft years. Honestly, you would have a hard time finding more than two or three Czech star players who were touted as future stars when in their teens.

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12-30-2010, 07:38 AM
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThrashersfanSVK View Post
Slovak problem is sometimes exaggerated by Slovaks. Slovakia has never been great at WJHC or U18 champs. For example, look at 2000 WJC roster - there were some interesting name - and now look at our position at that WJC - we finished at 9th place and almost we relegated to B division after loss to Ukraine in Game 1 of relegation series

However, Slovak hockey is in the crisis. No doubt. I'm sure the era of Bondra, Šatan, Pálffy, Švehla will never repeat - I think that was a really big coincidence because is almost impossible that players like these have met in one era, Slovakia has never had talents like these - it was golden age of our hockey. Potencial of Slovak hockey is bigger, but there are some problems like:

1) Impact of Mečiar's goverment - Have you ever heard about Vladimír Mečiar? I'm sure you have. His goverment (during 1994-98) nowadays still has big impact on our country. Big inflation, huge taxes, Mafia at police, murders are typical for his era - players who are playing now in our U20 team started with hockey in 1997/8/9 - during Mečiar's goverment and first years after it. During these years parents couldn't spend much money on son's equipment - in short, it was expensive for them.

2) Weak competition - I've read on Martin ReWay's status on Facebook that he can't understand children in Canada go to the practice rink during the Friday night instead of go to the city. Well, easy explanation - competition. He is one of the most talented player in Slovakia (better than Koyš I think), and he doesn't have any competition. He knows that he doesn't have to train hard because he doesn't have any competition and he still will be invited to national team.

3) Corruption - No comment.
It´s funny that Reway would be the one to mention that, considering the reputation he has in stuff like that at 15 already.

Anyway, the OP says not to mention soccer, but asides from soccer I could name at least 5 other team sports that have a player base at least as big or bigger as hockey here- I´d say all of handball, basketball,volleyball, ball hockey as some of the examples- and all of them have one thing in common- they are easier accessible and cheaper than hockey. And that´s just the team sports, not talking about the likes of indivudal sports.

The number of kids born yearly is only around 50.000 and you have to consider that a big part of them is not even talented for sports/interested in them and all the different sports have to compete real hard to get the kids for their sport. Plus combine this with the lack of a good hockey infrartucture and you get where we are- like 8000-9000 hockey players all in all. It´s the price you pay for trying to compete a big variety of sport despite a small population.

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12-30-2010, 07:44 AM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Rexor View Post
Honestly, you would have a hard time finding more than two or three Czech star players who were touted as future stars when in their teens.
We certainly had a couple of first rounders in the past 5 years that were projected to have a solid career. Some are doing OK (Frolík, Voráček, Hanzal), some are slowly going up (Kindl in Detroit) and some are struggling (Tlusty).

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12-30-2010, 07:47 AM
  #61
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Originally Posted by ThrashersfanSVK View Post
Have you ever heard about Vladimír Mečiar?
Sure:-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZvODkJuUxY


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12-30-2010, 07:51 AM
  #62
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Originally Posted by slovakiasnextone View Post
Anyway, the OP says not to mention soccer, but asides from soccer I could name at least 5 other team sports that have a player base at least as big or bigger as hockey here- I´d say all of handball, basketball,volleyball, ball hockey as some of the examples- and all of them have one thing in common- they are easier accessible and cheaper than hockey. And that´s just the team sports, not talking about the likes of indivudal sports.

The number of kids born yearly is only around 50.000 and you have to consider that a big part of them is not even talented for sports/interested in them and all the different sports have to compete real hard to get the kids for their sport. Plus combine this with the lack of a good hockey infrartucture and you get where we are- like 8000-9000 hockey players all in all. It´s the price you pay for trying to compete a big variety of sport despite a small population.
Look at Slovenia. 50 per cent of population of Slovakia and they are on the higher level at handball, same level at volleyball, maybe also at football, lower level at ice hockey and same level at inline hockey (maybe higher). I don't know where they are at ball hockey. Anyway, it is pretty tied and if you compare the population...

There is also one and maybe the biggest problem. If you are an athlete in Slovakia, you have to be dumb. And if I said dumb, I mean really dumb. Exceptions prove the rule. Education system for our young athletes doesn't exist. And then it is common that half of our U16 team are failing in school. In one magazine I read that this is impossible in Sweden. If you are failing in school, you can't be invited to national team. Don't know it is true, but I'm sure this could help us. But maybe then we wouldn't build our junior teams . Nevermind, it would be a great motivation for guys. Or am I just naive?

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12-30-2010, 07:57 AM
  #63
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Same can be said for Finland. Finland is past it's prime. Selanne, Koivu all retiring soon and no new upcoming players. There are only few hopes Grandlund, Armia and Vatanen, but still that's way too thin, if you compare to hockey's biggest, Canada and USA for prospects. We need more supertalent! I don't know what went wrong in last 5-10 years in Finland, but I hope they figure it out ASAP, because otherwise Finland won't be top hockey country anymore. Switzerland, Denmark, Germany are coming and challenging Finland, like last year Denmark won for the first time Finland in hockey. It was like changing a page for history. Finland's time as top hockey country is soon over, or it's over already.

So it's not only Slovakia and Czech who's going down.. Also Finland. That's a shame.

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12-30-2010, 08:07 AM
  #64
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Originally Posted by Colorado Avalanche View Post
Switzerland, Denmark, Germany are coming and challenging Finland
Maybe true about the other two but Finland will never ever have to worry about getting beat on consistent basis by a German hockey team, just won't happen.


Last edited by JVR: 12-30-2010 at 08:17 AM.
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12-30-2010, 08:09 AM
  #65
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Originally Posted by ThrashersfanSVK View Post
Look at Slovenia. 50 per cent of population of Slovakia and they are on the higher level at handball, same level at volleyball, maybe also at football, lower level at ice hockey and same level at inline hockey (maybe higher). I don't know where they are at ball hockey. Anyway, it is pretty tied and if you compare the population...

There is also one and maybe the biggest problem. If you are an athlete in Slovakia, you have to be dumb. And if I said dumb, I mean really dumb. Exceptions prove the rule. Education system for our young athletes doesn't exist. And then it is common that half of our U16 team are failing in school. In one magazine I read that this is impossible in Sweden. If you are failing in school, you can't be invited to national team. Don't know it is true, but I'm sure this could help us. But maybe then we wouldn't build our junior teams . Nevermind, it would be a great motivation for guys. Or am I just naive?
Well, if we had such a system of "hockeygymnasiet"- hockey gymnasiums as the Swedes do, we wouldn´t be as deep in the crap we are in right now.

Yeah, well, I guess the Slovenes are just more talented then? I´m not sure that anyone in Slovenia plays ball hockey. Also I wouldn´t say that they are currently much better at handball, we made it to the WC in Croatia through them. Anyway, it doesn´t make much sense comparing. But Slovenia has one edge over us- they are wealthier and I´d say at least a slight bit less corrupted- do you think that they would be able to fare as bad as we with the whole Ondrej Nepela rink fiasco? Even they could probably build at least 3 good rinks for that money used on that tunnel.

But, one more thing to what you said about Reway´s remark and the lack of competition- still there are sports where there is even a bigger lack of competition than in hockey in the country and we still have a lot of individuals in those sports who did sacrifice lots and lots for their sport in order to get where they are today. Or do you think that a guy like Michal Martikán or Peter Velits went out partying every free night like our young hockey players do? Maye it´s something that guys like Reway should consider and now that he is at the U17 WHC in Canada watching the Canadian/US teams and how good the players there are he could realize that hockey is a globalized sports and there is no lack of competition in it worldwide and that he doesn´t only have to compete with his peers back home, but that the kids on the other countries teams are his rivals in making it big in hockey as well. But if he is content with just being better than his weak own teammates that´s his thing, but do you think he will be able to make it big anywhere else than "Fasaliga" with an attitude like that? God knows there are lots of players who once thought that in that crap league.

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12-30-2010, 08:21 AM
  #66
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We certainly had a couple of first rounders in the past 5 years that were projected to have a solid career. Some are doing OK (Frolík, Voráček, Hanzal), some are slowly going up (Kindl in Detroit) and some are struggling (Tlusty).
Yes, but let's consider players like Eliáš (drafted as the 51st overall), Havlát (28th overall), T. Kaberle (204th overall), Hejduk (87th overall), Krejčí (63rd overall), Pavelec (41st overall), Z. Michálek (undrafted), Vokoun (226th overall), Neuvirth (34th overall), Kubina (179th overall) and the list goes on and on. It indicates that these players were able to make a more substantial progress during their early to mid-20's than the absolute majority of the players drafted before them. With their actual careers in mind, all of these Czech stars would be re-drafted in the Top 10 (with the exception of Michálek perhaps).

On the other hand, many of our draft stars failed to deliver. Štefan (1st overall) and Brendl (4th overall) were huge busts. Olesz (7th overall) has been disappointing so far. And how about Petr Tatíček (9th overall)?
It seems to me that since Czech players tend to be late-bloomers, the draft positions and more generally the performance displayed on junior levels is not necessarily the smartest and the ultimate way to evaluate the strength of the Czech youth hockey or even the future of the Czech hockey itself, though I won't disagree that recent failures in the international tournaments & lackluster NHL drafts are worrying.

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12-30-2010, 08:22 AM
  #67
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do you think that they would be able to fare as bad as we with the whole Ondrej Nepela rink fiasco? Even they could probably build at least 3 good rinks for that money used on that tunnel.
You reminded me again of the Sazka Arena fiasco. 8 billion CZK spent on one arena?! I mean...come on! That´s 450 million USD...For comparison the new Penguins Arena cost around 290 million USD...ehm:-)

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12-30-2010, 08:23 AM
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Well I'm going to sound like a big homer here but I would have Canada clear cut 1. I know the US is closing the gap and all but let's get real. Canada is still producing higher end talent. It's just my opinion, don't get me wrong it's great for the game if they are equal and we really need a superstar American born kid to emerge. Some are close (Kane, Parise, Ryan), but nobody on the level of an Ovechkin or Stamkos (of course nobody is close to Sid right now).
And yet we beat you and took you to OT in the Olympics. I could just as easily say that Canada doesn't have anywhere near the goaltending of Thomas, Quick and Miller. Dustin Brown is second only to Crosby in points in December, and he's a more complete player than Ovechkin or Stamkos. I'd say Canada-US (tie) is becoming more true every day, and that isn't likely to change.

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12-30-2010, 08:24 AM
  #69
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Nice, i was hoping someone would make this thread.

Will this ever happen in russia?

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12-30-2010, 08:29 AM
  #70
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Yes, but let's consider players like Eliáš (drafted as the 51st overall), Havlát (28th overall), T. Kaberle (204th overall), Hejduk (87th overall), Krejčí (63rd overall), Pavelec (41st overall), Z. Michálek (undrafted), Vokoun (226th overall), Neuvirth (34th overall), Kubina (179th overall) and the list goes on and on. It indicates that these players were able to make a more substantial progress during their early to mid-20's than the absolute majority of the players drafted before them. With their actual careers in mind, all of these Czech stars would be re-drafted in the Top 10 (with the exception of Michálek perhaps).

On the other hand, many of our draft stars failed to deliver. Štefan (1st overall) and Brendl (4th overall) were huge busts. Olesz (7th overall) has been disappointing so far. And how about Petr Tatíček (9th overall)?
It seems to me that since Czech players tend to be late-bloomers, the draft positions and more generally the performance displayed on junior levels is not necessarily the smartest and the ultimate way to evaluate the strength of the Czech youth hockey or even the future of the Czech hockey itself, though I won't disagree that recent failures in the international tournaments & lackluster NHL drafts are worrying.
Im not arguing with you that Czech players tend to mature later - I agree with you on that one. I just pointed out that we actually had a couple of first round talents in the past years and some are actually living up to their potential.

The players you mentioned Olesz, Brendl, Štefan, Tatíček are/were a dissapointment. Brendl´s attitude and work ethic and Štefan´s health problems were a crucial issue. Olesz seems plain lazy to me. And I am a little dissapointed with Michálek - I think he is not playing up to his potential:-/

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12-30-2010, 08:39 AM
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Same can be said for Finland. Finland is past it's prime. Selanne, Koivu all retiring soon and no new upcoming players. There are only few hopes Grandlund, Armia and Vatanen, but still that's way too thin, if you compare to hockey's biggest, Canada and USA for prospects. We need more supertalent! I don't know what went wrong in last 5-10 years in Finland, but I hope they figure it out ASAP, because otherwise Finland won't be top hockey country anymore. Switzerland, Denmark, Germany are coming and challenging Finland, like last year Denmark won for the first time Finland in hockey. It was like changing a page for history. Finland's time as top hockey country is soon over, or it's over already.

So it's not only Slovakia and Czech who's going down.. Also Finland. That's a shame.
I disagree with this, Finland is currently producing talent and is building a team that can contend in the future. We did have a major drought between the 2006-2009 drafts that saw very little top end talent coming up the ranks, but are now back on track with several players of note. We have also developed many goaltending prospects in the past while which cannot be said for Cze/Svk.

Anyways, I don't want to hijack this thread with a discussion about Finnish hockey, but I see us headed in the right direction going toward the future.

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12-30-2010, 08:43 AM
  #72
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I disagree with this, Finland is currently producing talent and is building a team that can contend in the future. We did have a major drought between the 2006-2009 drafts that saw very little top end talent coming up the ranks, but are now back on track with several players of note. We have also developed many goaltending prospects in the past while which cannot be said for Cze/Svk.

Anyways, I don't want to hijack this thread with a discussion about Finnish hockey, but I see us headed in the right direction going toward the future.
Without a doubt the Finns have a greater number of top quality goaltenders than the Czechs but I believe the future of Czech goaltending does´nt look that bleak. The trio Pavelec, Neuvirth and Štěpánek are all in their early 20s and have a lot of potential.

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12-30-2010, 08:46 AM
  #73
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Originally Posted by slovakiasnextone View Post
Yeah, well, I guess the Slovenes are just more talented then? I´m not sure that anyone in Slovenia plays ball hockey. Also I wouldn´t say that they are currently much better at handball, we made it to the WC in Croatia through them. Anyway, it doesn´t make much sense comparing. But Slovenia has one edge over us- they are wealthier and I´d say at least a slight bit less corrupted- do you think that they would be able to fare as bad as we with the whole Ondrej Nepela rink fiasco? Even they could probably build at least 3 good rinks for that money used on that tunnel.
This. I wanted to show you that the population is not important or better said is not so important as wealth of country. Slovenia is post-communist country, too (Yes, it was a different communist regime, but it was still communism). So I think it's good comparing. They were on the same starting line as Slovakia in beginning of 90's (+ don't forget to war, but yes, they weren't significantly affected by war). However nowadays, you know...

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Originally Posted by slovakiasnextone View Post
But, one more thing to what you said about Reway´s remark and the lack of competition- still there are sports where there is even a bigger lack of competition than in hockey in the country and we still have a lot of individuals in those sports who did sacrifice lots and lots for their sport in order to get where they are today. Or do you think that a guy like Michal Martikán or Peter Velits went out partying every free night like our young hockey players do?
You mentioned just individual sports. I have to say one Slovak proverb - If you want to live with wolves you have to howl with them. In collective are many stupid children. Yes, there are some wise but as the proverb says, evil always wins :-). Martikán and Velits are individual athletes. There are not in collective, they can do whatever they want, they don't need to look "cool" in front of their teammates. And this is highly related to education...

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Originally Posted by slovakiasnextone View Post
Maye it´s something that guys like Reway should consider and now that he is at the U17 WHC in Canada watching the Canadian/US teams and how good the players there are he could realize that hockey is a globalized sports and there is no lack of competition in it worldwide and that he doesn´t only have to compete with his peers back home, but that the kids on the other countries teams are his rivals in making it big in hockey as well. But if he is content with just being better than his weak own teammates that´s his thing, but do you think he will be able to make it big anywhere else than "Fasaliga" with an attitude like that? God knows there are lots of players who once thought that in that crap league.
And that is the result of neglected education. He has to know that to be the best in Slovakia is not enough for him! Obviously, he thinks that's enough. I agree with you, but I'm afraid this will never change if we don't build the education system for young athletes.


To your last question - Hard to say. He's really big talent. It also depends on which coach he would met.


Last edited by ThrashersfanSVK: 12-30-2010 at 08:52 AM.
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12-30-2010, 09:01 AM
  #74
Felonious Python
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So we're supposed to give the reason why hockey is "falling off the map" some place, but can't say the reason?

Economics. I was in Czech about a year and a half ago, and compared to Austria and Germany, Czech is much poorer (overall).

Hockey is an expensive sport.

Another factor that I think is playing a part is that the top Czech hockey players are now either in NA, or Russia. Makes it a harder sell, knowing they're not watching the absolute 'best' players, domestically.

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12-30-2010, 09:10 AM
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Rogalo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felonious Python View Post
Economics. I was in Czech about a year and a half ago, and compared to Austria and Germany, Czech is much poorer (overall).

Hockey is an expensive sport.

Another factor that I think is playing a part is that the top Czech hockey players are now either in NA, or Russia. Makes it a harder sell, knowing they're not watching the absolute 'best' players, domestically.
Yes, money is a huge part of the problem. Hockey in comparison with popular football or floorball is very expensive for the Czech parents.

The domestic league is drained when it comes to top talent...that is a fact. However fans and people in general do not expect this to change. Everyone is kinda used to this...it certainly isn´t a shock:-) The football league functions as a farm for other European leagues as well.

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