Losing my Ice Hockey Virginity

I entered the arena boy and returned home a man…

Yes it is official people, I have finally misplaced my ice hockey virginity at Prague’s O2 Arena, home to HC Sparta Prague. The United Kingdom is not known for its prowess in the realms of ice hockey so I hope you can excuse my innocence when I say that is has taken me best part of 22 years to actually see a live game. But what an exciting first game to witness, a 6-1 win for HC Sparta Prague against visitors Dynamo Pardubice. If only every sporting event was entertaining as this one was.

I have been ice skating only a handful of times and I would argue that I’m not too bad on the ice, that’s not to say that I am an expert either though. I would maybe describe my skating ability like the way C3PO walks about – robotic and uncomfortable – you Star Wars fans out there will know what I mean. There is no comparison between my skating ability and that of these professional ice hockey players, I could not believe the pace and intensity of this game. I have watched ice hockey on the television at home, especially during the winter Olympics (a personal favorite of mine) which is always impressive. However watching it in person, players just look like colourful blurs they travel across the ice so quickly, blink and you will miss them.

Full contact sport always gets my seal of approval, as a rugby player there is no better feeling that dishing out damage to the opposition. It has a thrill to it that many people won’t understand because they have not played full contact sport… go and do it now, you will love it. Ice hockey is no different, the big high speed collisions only add another layer of excitement to the game, it is nice to see goals being scored but who doesn’t want to see one player knock another into next week? I was sat almost rink side and had a great view of some of these body checks, they were great to watch but probably not so great to be on the receiving end of.

The crowd really made the game electric too, their singing and chanting only helped Sparta press on and take apart their opponents. The war like beat of the drums in the Sparta end of the arena made it clear that the fans demanded more and more from their team as they pressed on to the final 6-1 score line. There was still a part of me however that was having a good laugh at the drums they were using to coordinate the chants from the crowd. I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way but you don’t see many things like this in sport in England, maybe the odd international football game has a lonesome trumpet player, the same goes for the cricket. You can even sit with a beer and watch the game, something you can do while you watch cricket or rugby in England but definitely not the football, you hooligans stick to drinking at the bar. I even joined in with some of the chanting, I did not have a clue what I was chanting at some points during the ice hockey but still it sounded good.

With ice hockey being relatively new to me it was a strange experience to sit there and watch a game live but now I’ve been exposed to it I definitely want to go again. The game gripped me tight in my seat and took me on an exhilarating ride and I hear it gets better the more you go, I will be impressed if a 6-1 victory can be topped. There will only be one way to find out, and that’s to turn up and support my adopted team again on another day. And the chance to go again is just around the corner as Sparta Prague go into playoff home games on the 16th and 17th March and the race for the title really begins. 

The NHL might not be happy to hear I lost it to the Czech Extraliga but I don’t have any regrets at all.

It’s Playoff time - CANZA & Prague.TV VIP Hockey Night - 17.03.2016 - Book your ticket now!

Official HC Sparta Prague web: www.hcsparta.cz (ENG)
HC Sparta Prague match schedule: www.hcsparta.cz (ENG)

HC Sparta Prague on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hcsparta

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