Czech glassmakers make medals for Ice Hockey World Championship

Crystal medals for the Ice Hockey World Championship

Organizers of the upcoming 2024 Ice Hockey World Championship have unveiled the gold, silver and bronze medals that will be awarded to the winning teams. The trophies, produced by glassmakers in the north Bohemian town of Nový Bor, are made of crystal glass, which resembles a piece of ice scratched by skates.

Preparations are in full swing for the Ice Hockey World Championship that will get underway in Prague and Ostrava in May. Glassmakers from the Kolektiv Ateliers in the north Bohemian town of Nový Bor are currently working on a set of medals for the winning teams. They have to produce at least 40 pieces of each metal in case some of the medals break.

Silver,  gold,  and bronze medals | Photo: Michaela Říhová,  ČTK

The designer of the medals Kateřina Handlová, says the Czech Hockey Federation gave her a clear assignment. They were supposed to reflect both the sport and the country which is hosting the championship:

“The initial idea that came to my mind was to create medals which would look as if they are made of ice. I think there is a certain similarity between glass and ice, especially in the transparency, which makes it look like a frozen water surface. I also used a special glass cutting technique in order to create deep cuts resembling the traces left by the skates on the ice.”

The glass circle, which weighs 250 grams, is set in a gold, silver or metal frame which symbolizes a hockey board. It is completed with a ribbon in the Czech national colours - red for the gold, blue for the silver and white for the bronze medal.

According to Kateřina Handlová, the process of creating the medal is not an easy one and each piece takes a couple of days to complete:

“It all starts with the technique of glass fusing. We have two pieces of glass and we put soda in between. We then put it into the kiln, where the temperature goes up to 860 degrees, melting the glass. The soda in between the two layers creates bubbles. When it cools down, we use the method of water jet cutting to cut the basic shape. Then it heads to the cold shop where all the manual work is done.”

The glassmaker from Kolektiv Ateliers is working on the medals for the Ice Hockey World Championships,  which will take place in Prague and Ostrava in May | Photo: Radek Petrášek,  ČTK

In the cold shop, the piece of glass is ground into a precise shape and engravers cut grooves into the surface, resembling the traces of skates left on the ice after a game of hockey.

The glass is then painted gold, silver or bronze and set in a metal frame. As the last step, the logo of the World Ice Hockey Federation is stamped on the reverse side of the medal.

The Czech hockey team are due to play their first match of the Ice Hockey World Championship against Finland on May 10. If they succeed in winning a medal, they will receive some of these glass gems that reflect not only their own prowess but the skills of Bohemian glass makers.