The HC Masaryk University ice-hockey team has only just started its first season in the EUHL and already the players are preparing for a match that will live long in their memories. On Thursday 26 October at 7 p.m. they play the Charles University team, a four-time winner of the competition, in the DRFG Arena. This should be a fantastic night for both players and fans. And what's more, tickets are already on sale.
A grand procession from Moravské náměstí, a pre-match programme, a match played for both points and honour between the two biggest Czech universities plus an after-match party at Fléda are all in store for fans of both teams.
The match starts at 7 p.m. in the Brno DRFG Arena (the former Rondo). Tickets can be bought for 130 crowns at the Faculty of Social Studies bookshop, Scalanterie at the University Cinema Scala, and the University Campus bookshop. They are also available online at Ticketportal.
A challenging match against Charles University
Jan Vaverka, a forward on the university team, is one of those taking on the challenge. He is a third-year student of sports management at the Faculty of Sports Studies but was only a spectator at the previous matches against the Brno University of Technology or Charles University.
“I was at the Rondo two years ago, so I know what it's going to be like and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be a night to remember. Charles University is probably the best team in the whole competition, so it's going to be hard, but I believe we won't disappoint our fans,” says Vaverka, who has been looking forward to the match for a long time.
His performance in the first “Bear team” match has already gone down in team history. The team, which features a bear paw in its logo, beat KMH Budapest 7:5 and Vaverka scored their first-ever goal.
“Our play was rather chaotic in the beginning; you could see how nervous we were because it was our first match. We got into it during the second period, where you could already see some teamwork on the ice. None of us really knew ahead of time what it was going to be like. Now I believe that the victory has boosted the good team morale and that it will serve as a sound foundation,” hopes Vaverka. He and the team have already played their first away game, where they narrowly lost 3:4 in overtime against Diplomats Pressburg from Bratislava.
However, the joy of the game is the biggest motivation for Vaverka and the reason why he decided to join the team. He knew about the planned club long before it was founded, as he is friends with Josef Novák, one of the founders. Nevertheless, he hesitated a little over whether to join because he hadn't played a competitive match for two years.
“Up until high school, I played for Kometa Brno but then I decided to leave after some disagreements. If I switched teams within the Czech Republic, my new team would have to pay several hundred thousand crowns and nobody wanted to do that. So I decided to go abroad,” says Vaverka.
Two coaches, one Czech and one Slovak, were working in Lillehammer, Norway at the time and helped him find a place there. He spent a year playing in the junior league before moving on to the Frisk Asker team, where he made several appearances in the first league. But as no big ice-hockey career seemed to be in the making for him, he decided to come back home three years ago, enrolled at the university and continued playing as a hobby. Until now, that is. Being part of HC Muni is like restarting his career for him.