Have you been missing university ice hockey matches? Well, that's about to change. Masaryk University students are currently putting the finishing touches to the two-year process of forming their own ice-hockey team called HC Masaryk University. Starting from October, they will play in the European University Hockey League (EUHL) against teams from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland. There is still time now for players and students to join the team. They still need people to help with marketing and editing the team website along with coaches and a massage therapist.
The establishment of the team also clarifies the situation around this year's Ice Hockey Battle of Universities. This will not be played against the Brno University of Technology team, but instead, one of the university league matches will be chosen for this purpose.
Even though the team jerseys bear the name Masaryk University, they can be worn by players from outside the university. Students of other universities or secondary school students willing to fight for MU can also join. The project organisers want to take advantage of the popularity of student ice hockey matches although their main ambition is to create an environment for the players where their studies and their sports careers do not clash.
“All our ice hockey players know how difficult it is to do both at the same time. They spend a lot of time training, travelling, and at matches and need to put all their efforts into their studies, while at the same time, they get reproached from each side for devoting time to the other. We want to create an environment that will make their situation easier,” says team manager Peter Bustin, a student and a graduate of the Faculty of Economics and Administration at Masaryk University, who last played for the second-league team Technika Brno.
This also explains the choice of a bear as the team symbol. It represents the fierce playing style they would like to be known for as well as the protective nature of the animal. The university team plans to make it possible for its players to develop within the sport and as students at the same time.
Josef Novák, another of the founders, says: “We think university teams play an important role in improving the sports environment in each country.”
The team needs help with marketing, editing the website, and creating social media posts. Coaches and a massage therapist are needed while in the future, the team will also need a lawyer. The team management is currently negotiating to have such work recognised as an internship for which students could obtain credits.
HC Masaryk University currently has about 30 players and, according to Bustin, they are planning to accept more applicants so that they can continue playing without interruption during the exam periods. The team now has financing for the first season and they estimate the minimum costs at 600,000 Czech crowns.
Even though there is no formal connection between this team and the Technika team, it is a continuation of the team in many ways. Former players of the Technika team will become players and coaches for the new team and the matches will take place at the ice hockey arena at Sportovní.
The fixtures for the competition, which had nine teams last year, is yet to be published by the organisers. However, it is expected that the Brno team will play matches on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and will alternate between playing in Brno and away. The team will compete with other Czech teams in the EUHL, as teams from Charles University and the Brno University of Technology are already members of the league.