The Czech University Hockey League started in September
University hockey in the Czech Republic introduced a new league, which started in September and features eight teams representing 13 different universities. The league provides young players with a chance to effectively combine studies and sport at a high level during their college years.
Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in the Czech Republic. The highest-level Czech league is the Czech Extraliga which features 14 teams from across the country and is considered the fifth best ice hockey league in the world. Juniors compete in U20, U18, U16 leagues and in other youth teams.
Players aged 18 or 20 often find themselves debating whether they should continue to fight for their spot among professional hockey players in top leagues or whether they should quit hockey and dedicate their time to full-time university program. The new league will allow them to extend their hockey career and prepare them for a smoother transition into a new life after hockey.
The university league started in September and will offer 84 matches in the regular season. The league features 8 teams – Akademici Plzeň, Black Dogs České Budějovice, BO Ostrava, Cavaliers Brno, Engineers Prague, HC Masaryk University – Brno, UC Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, UK Hockey Prague. A total of 13 universities has representatives playing for the eight teams.
In the first season of its existence, the directors of the league want to analyze its possible drawbacks and challenges that might be improved for the upcoming seasons. The ultimate goal of the league is to imitate the university hockey league in North America, where university sport is a phenomenon.
You can find the league schedule at the official website (only in Czech language) at https://univerzitnihokej.cz/zapasy and also follow the league on social media under the name Univerzitní liga.