The para hockey giant and the team that has been setting the sport’s pace for many years – team USA – is heading to Ostrava. The American para hockey players are arriving a week before the beginning of the International Para Hockey Cup tournament to train together with the Czech national team. They want to participate in the transfer of their knowledge and experience for the global development of para hockey.
The five-time world champions and Paralympic winners from the USA have been returning to the Czech Republic regularly in the past years. Not solely thanks to the fact that Ostrava has become the world center of para hockey and has repeatedly hosted the World Championships, but also thanks to the city’s excellent facilities used for this sport. “Our team is very much looking forward to returning to Ostrava for the IPH Cup tournament. We are bringing twenty players to Ostrava and we will use this opportunity to test the team’s ability not only in training but also in terms of match load,” said the manager of the American para hockey national team, Dan Brennan, saying that four newcomers that have been added to the team are also heading to the tournament. The week before the start of the IPH Cup itself, in which the US para hockey players will compete with Team Canada, the Czech Republic and a united world team named the IPH Team, the American players and coaches will cooperate with the Czech national team on and off the ice. Both the Czech players and the implementation team are very much looking forward to this experience.
American para-hockey players also train healthy players on the ice, source: www.youtube.com
“That’s the biggest challenge for us, actually. We, the coaches, and the players are very curious about how far the Americans will let us go. It’s an opportunity to learn from the absolute best and develop our skills even further, said Jakub Novotný, the coach of the Czech para hockey national team. Two exhibition games are planned as part of the preparation for local primary and secondary schools’ students. The students can look forward to an unusual entertainment program connected with some world-class para hockey.
The International Para Hockey Cup commences on Saturday, September 24, with a face-off between the US national team and the specially-formed IPH Team from 16:00 at the RT Torax Arena. “We wanted to enable more players to meet the world’s elite para hockey players on the ice and pass on their experience. We are trying to move this sport’s development forward throughout the world this way,” added Irena Šašková, the tournament manager.
The Czech national team will play against Canada’s para hockey players on the first day of the International Para Hockey Cup from 19:00. Not only the American para hockey players hope to enjoy the games in front of fans, who always create a fantastic atmosphere during the Ostrava tournaments.
The IPH Cup takes place with the financial support of the Statutory City of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region. Thanks to Kaufland, Liberty and other partners.
Text: Zuzana Glacová Photo: parahockey.cz