The Czech para hockey team jumped into full preparation before the upcoming International Para Hockey Cup tournament, which starts in Ostrava next month. And the first task is clear: To get in good shape after the holiday break. This applies only to part of the Czech para hockey national team though. Most of the players committed to training sessions in the summer as well, in order to pass on valuable experience to the junior players of the national team.
The International Para Hockey Cup (IPH CUP) will once again bring elite para hockey teams to Ostrava in September. The tournament is played outside of the World Championship season which happens every two years. Teams thus have the opportunity to compare their progress, try out new players on the ice, and most importantly, advance world para hockey together. This year, teams from the USA and Canada are heading to Ostrava, as well as the world selection of Norway, Germany and Slovakia who make up a joint team called the ‘IPH team’. Of course the Czech para hockey team will attend and will arrive in Ostrava a week before the tournament so that the players can attend a joint training session with the best para hockey team from the USA. “That’s what we’re looking forward to the most. Both the team staff and the players. We will train together and we are curious to see how far the USA team will take us,” said the national team coach Jakub Novotný. “It’s going to be good for us because we can reflect on how far we can move, what specifically to improve, and how we could further advance Czech para hockey,” added Novotný.
The return to the sledge was icy for the para hockey team. The coaches ordered their players to practice as much as possible on the ice before the IPH CUP 2022. For now, it’s all about improving physical condition and advancing individual skills. The coaches of the Czech national team do not want to reveal the lineup for the international tournament in Ostrava just yet, but they would like to include talented newcomers. “We already have new young boys in training with the national team, the question however, is whether they will be able to participate in the tournament during their busy school year,” coach Novotný commented. For now, it is clear that David Motyčka and Jan Frolík are not training with the team due to health reasons. Nonetheless, the face of the tournament, Zdeněk Krupička, will certainly return to the lineup after his summer break.
From its traditional training center in Nymburk and Poděbrady, the Czech para hockey team will move to Ostrava on the 18th of September. The first match will then be played against the Canadian team in the RT Torax Arena on the 24th of September 2022, at 19:00.
Text: Zuzana Glacová Photo: Radim Horák, Vladimír Pryček