New Ice Hockey club HC Lev Praha will bring the KHL to Prague
For 20 years there was only one route for world class Czech ice hockey players – west. But since the creation of the Continental Hockey League in Russia 4 years ago, this once clear system is being ever more distorted. Increasing numbers of European and even American stars now decide to head east rather than into the NHL and it is not only players that seem to be flocking to the Eurasian league, but teams as well. Most recently the first Czech club to join was HC Lev Praha.
“The Czech Republic has many great players who play everywhere around the world. Many play in the KHL league and so why not build a new Czech team so they can play at home.”
“The hockey itself is no longer enough you must try to make some kind of show for the people. Simple hockey is not enough. You need a show around it like the NHL.”
Among the NHL expatriates, there is also a number of Canadian players. After the teams training I questioned one of them, Paul Szczechura what its like to play in a completely new team:
The club will play in the western – Bobrov division, the culturally most varied group in the KHL, which features teams from the Ukraine, Latvia, Slovakia and of course Russia. Playing its first game against Dynamo Riga on the 6th of September. It will certainly be interesting to see how the project develops and if other Czech teams will follow suit in the future. In any case credit must be given to the brave gamble that HC Lev’s owners have decided to undertake.