Less than three weeks remain until the start of the elite world para hockey tournament International Para Hockey Cup 2023 (IPH Cup), which will be hosted by the Ostravar Arena from the 2nd of October. The tickets are on sale now at smsticket.cz, and the world’s greatest players are once again looking forward to coming back to Ostrava: the paralympic winners and world champions from the USA, their biggest rivals from Canada, but also the home Czech team, which is starting to really show their strength on the ice to the TOP para hockey teams. Everything will be completed by the IPH team (a team with a selection of players around the world) which is made up of players from European and overseas para hockey teams.
Right from the start of the season, the Czech para hockey team gathered for two joint training sessions and started preparing for the upcoming tournament. “We outlined the schedule for our whole season this year, and we also mainly wanted to see the boys after the summer and see how they are doing physically; if the motivation didn’t leave them after they won their medal at the World Championships, and we were happy to see that their motivation was still very much there,” coach Jakub Novotný said about the preparation of the Czech para hockey national team. At the moment, the Czech national team trains in three so-called “hubs”. The team is divided into three areas so that the players are not burdened by long travel. Individual groups are preparing under the guidance of coaches Jan Szturc, Jiří Bříza and Jakub Novotný. “We will mainly focus on getting back to that peak physical condition we were in, and we will work on individual skills too. I think the boys remember how we used tactical matters to move a little closer to the best teams,” added coach Novotný.
Nejlepší světový parahokej i fanzóna přímo u ledu
The world’s best para hockey and fan zone right next to the ice
The week-long world tournament IPH CUP 2023 offers ten matches in five playing days. The tournament starts on the 2nd of October at 15:00 with the USA match against the IPH team. “The involvement of the IPH team is an excellent idea. It’s a great experience for European teams that are at a higher level, but can’t fill up an entire roster. Whether it’s the fact that they can see how the other teams train before the tournament, then the matches themselves, how they progress, how the rotation on the benches work, the coaches, all of it is very beneficial,” said Jakub Novotný, coach of the Czech para hockey national team, about the participation of the IPH team.
The Czech national para hockey team will be once again led by the experienced coaching trio – Bříza, Novotný, and Szturc.
Last year, the IPH team consisted of players from Slovakia and Norway, this year however, it will be made of para hockey players from Italy and Germany, led by the Italian coach Mirko Bianchi. And as usual during the tournaments, spectators and fans can look forward not only to the para hockey itself, but also to the fan zone, which will be right next to the ice surface. “Fans can watch the game from a completely different perspective, very similar to as is it for example in the NHL. We are preparing a lot of sports activities, competitions, but also DJ shows or popular talk shows that will be in the program during intermissions; all happening right in the fan zone,” said Jiří Šindler, the head of the IPH CUP 2023. And so, for example, viewers can look forward to the popular talk show Bez frazí (Without Barriers) with Karel Nocar and his guests from the world of sports and para sports.
The International Para Hockey Cup 2023 is moving to the Ostravar Arena this year. “Ostrava has long been one of the places in the world that sets the trend for world para hockey. We also organize development camps here for new para hockey players, tournaments, but also our ParaSport Festival, and we are very pleased that players and teams around the world return to Ostrava every year to test their strength,” Jiří Šindler added.
The International Para Hockey Cup 2023 will take place with the support of the National Sports Agency, the Moravian-Silesian Region, the Statutory City of Ostrava and partners Kaufland and Komerční banka.
Text: Zuzana Martinčík Glacová Translation: Adela Katy Dawso Photos: David Handl