Prague's Letná to host Red Bull hockey qualifier

The tournament takes hockey back to its roots as a street game

The Red Bull Urban Buly tournament returns one of the world's most popular sports to where it belongs — in city parks. After four regional qualifiers, the best will compete in the finals in Prague for the chance to play against real ice hockey stars.

The Prague regional qualifier be at the skate park at site of the former Stalin statue in Letná Park on June 17. The finals will be July 7 in Prague at a location that has not yet been announced.

Playing hockey in a park playground with minimal equipment is how many players got their starts.

In recent years, children have known street hockey from video games. But now they will be able to drop the virtual sticks and seize the real ones. The Red Bull Urban Buly tournament returns the sport to urban playgrounds. After last year's successful debut the number of competing teams has doubled.

There will be up to 64 five-member teams, competing on four courts. There can be three players per team on the court at any time.

San Jose Sharks hockey player Tomáš Hertl lends his auspices to the tournament The winning team will be able to play against a team of professionals.

“I'm getting ready. I like the idea of returning to the playgrounds, where hockey grew up as well as me. I'm looking forward to meeting the best from the Red Bull Urban Buly,” Hertl said.

He succeeded last year with his star squad in the last match, but he confirmed it was not so easy.

“It was an unusual game for me. Two fiver minute periods does not seem like a lot, but without goalkeepers, the player must be running everywhere. I look forward to bringing my hockey buddies again,” he said.

The rules are not too complex. Two teams will face each other on a 20 by 10 meter pitch, They can have up to five members, with only three players on the pitch at a time. There are no protection pads or gloves. Each player will only have a stick.

During the two five-minute periods the participants will try to get a tennis ball to the opponent's goal, which, unlike classic hockey, does not have a goalie.

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