Czech Extraliga hockey season starting

The top league’s season will run until April and promises tough competition

The 26th season of the ice hockey Extraliga starts Sept. 14. It is also the 81st season for top-level domestic competition. The season will run until April.

Hockey club HC Kometa Brno is the favorite at the season’s start. The club has 13 league titles going back to 1955, and won the past two seasons. If Brno wins this season, they will be on track to challenge VHK Vsetín in the record books. That club won five times in a row between 1995 and ’99. But Vsetín’s luck ran out due to financial problems and it was later relegated to lower leagues, so hopefully Brno won’t completely follow that club’s example.

Brno has seen some lineup changes but retains most of its key players from last year.

Other clubs out of the 14 in the Extraliga with good prospects at the start of the season are Oceláři Třinec, Bílí Tygři Liberec, Sparta Praha and HC Škoda Plzeň.

Oceláři Třinec, which roughly translates to the Steelers, reached the finals in the last season but has only won the title once, in 2011. Their team is much the same as in the previous season. Coach Václav Varaďa told the press he expects his team to continue on its journey and be at its best, after taking silver last year.

Bílí Tygři Liberec only reached the semi-finals last year, but won the season in 2016 and followed that in 2017 with second-place. Coach Filip Pešán was also optimistic at the start of this season, saying he intends to fight for a medal.

Sparta Praha had a very disappointing season last year, finishing in the lower half of the pack. They signed a new coach, German former defenseman Uwe Krupp, to revitalize the team. He said the past was the past, and he is looking to the future. So far he is satisfied with the progress of the team and their consistent playing.

HC Škoda Plzeň won the championship in 2013, but finished last season in third place. Their new coach Ladislav Čihák also anticipates tough competition as the teams just keep getting better.

Related links
HC Sparta Prague
HC Kometa Brno

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