Questions, comments or suggestions? email me at:
Don't miss out a chance to win in our monthly "Croatianicity" t-shirt draw!
As well as our monthly Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic fridge magnet give away!

subota, 22. siječnja 2011.

Zagreb Medvescak Fill Zagreb Arena For E.B.E.L. Hockey Game.....(And Joe Sakic Speaks Croatian)

I've posted previously here about hockey (hokej) in Croatia, more specifically about the "Zagreb Bears" (Zagreb Medveščak) who play as part of the 4 nation "Austrian Hockey League. (Erste Bank Eishockey Liga)  To read them you can click onto the links I left HERE and HERE.

Hockey, as I've written previously has really been gaining popularity lately in Croatia, especially Zagreb. But surprisingly, believe it or not, hockey is not a new sport to Croatia, it actually has a history in Croatia that dates back to 1905 at least. See: History_Of_Ice_Hockey_In_Croatia.

I enjoy adding these types of stories to my blog, informing people of facts they may not know.   Especially the ones who think Croatia is in Russia, or in the middle east, or wonder why anyone would want to go to Croatia at all. ("What is there to do there? Does Croatia have electricity?"  "Do they have a Tim Hortons?"  "Does Croatia have televisions?" With my point being, they do anything you can do here, and even more.  I guess that's part of the whole point of this blog.  Especially to let  people of Croatian background who are not familiar with the current Croatian "scene".  Afterall, there's much more to know about Croatia than just reading about Croatian history.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that)

Anyway, the Zagreb Bears hockey games are always sold out, the atmosphere is electric, music, singing, crazy fans, beer, babes, exciting play. Currently they've moved across town to play in the newly built Zagreb Arena for the 4 game "Arena Ice Fever" event and the fans are having a blast. At least 60,000 glasses of PAN beer will be available for the fans and visitors to enjoy. (Good beer btw,that was on my list from my last trip there)

Coach and General Manager of the Bears, Doug Bradley has been quoted as saying he is very proud of the way hockey has been taken by the city of Zagreb. Even hockey legend Joe Sakic is impressed with the goings on there. The articles below explain a little more:

A full house at Arena Zagreb




Medvescak Expect Sold-out Arena For All Games!


Ahead of the four games that KHL Medvescak Zagreb play in Arena Zagreb, the city is bustling with activity, and the fans are on the rush to get the last available tickets.

 (Foto: PIXELL)

Medvescak Arena ICE FEVER has broken all possible records: Friday's and Sunday's game versus EC-KAC and EV Vienna Capitals are already soldout. Only 200 tickets for Friday and 150 for Sunday will be left for gameday sell at the Arena. Zagreb definitely has turned into a hockey city, as the Bears managed to sell almost all tickets for the four games and 60.000 fans will be able to attend those four fantastic shows. The Arena, usually used for Fairs, Handball or music Concerts has been rebuilt for the ICE FEVER, using 90 Tons of equipment and lots of hard, hard work. As usually happens with such big projects, local irritations were there, but were overcome by Club Management and City cooperating.

This will be by far biggest attendance on a indoor hockey game in the region. The only game coming close was USSR vs. Czechoslovakia game at the finals of 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo with 12.000 spectators. Only few Clubs in Europe play in a bigger arenas. Koelner Haie - (Lanxness Arena - 18.500), Slavia Prague (O2 Arena - 17.360) and Bern (PostFinance Arena - 17.131) have bigger rinks.

Arena Ice Fever Zagreb, 2011 - Opening ceremony video with a few words from hockey legend Joe Sakic. "Sve najbolje" means "All the best". (I said "speaks Croatian" btw, I didn't say recites long poem in Croatian)

"We are back at the European hockey map", stated Dragutin Ljubic and added: "Everybody around the club cant wait for Friday. In the locker, we have players with NHL experience but even they will feel rush as they skated in front of sellout crowd."

At the stands the Croatian president and the Primeminister are expected, as will be League Manager, IIHF executives, Media-personell by the load and Fans galore. Klagenfurt , for example will bring a travelling support of 500, and have prepared a friendly message to thank Medvescak and the City of Zagreb.
Wacey Rabbit stated: "It's going to be fantastic experience. We have great atmosphere in Dom Sportova a s it is. About 6.000 fans there make great atmosphere, and now, there will be 15.000. Its going to be loud, crazy. I cant wait for the game, it will be like playing an NHL game back home. I skated in front of 15.000 in an NHL-exibition-game with the Boston Bruins. It was even more with Vancouver Giants in the Minors. We played a Memorial cup in front of 22.000 people, so I'm looking forward to hera the roar from the stands."


(Nenad Dugi/Cropix) Fotogalerija:


The first match of the ice hockey spectacle at Arena was more than successful. Packed sports hall with some 15.200 supporters, great atmosphere, Joe Sakic's video call with wishes for luck only a few minutes before the match... The only thing missing was Bears' victory. However, Medveščak has once again proved that they are strong enough to face Klagenfurt and that the victory with the result 4:0 was not just a coincidence. The Bears managed to keep up with the first-placed EBEL team until the very last minute. Their destiny was sealed after penalty shots.

Slight excitement because of more spectators than usually reflected on the Bears' performance during the first period. Klagenfurt started aggressively and scored in the 6th minute. Kirk Furey passed behind Robert Kristan's net, came to the bully's line and returned the puck on top of the circle next to Manuel Geier who directed it straight to net's corner. Four minutes later, in the last second when Robby Sandrock was supposed to enter the ice from the penalty box, Furey passed the puck through several players on the left to the right getting to Tyler Scofield who readily placed the puck in an empty net since Lix didn't have the time to return to the other goal-bar.

After those missed chances during the first period, during the second the Bears started chasing the difference of two goals. Dominik Kanaet started that mission in the 21st minute and massing up Klagenfurt's plan to easily win the two points. Defense player Ben Gazdić,who was on the left side, passed the puck from the blue line towards the opponent goaltender. The puck recoiled from Chiod, but exactly at that moment our 19-year-old player from Zagreb got the puck, slowed it down and shook Klagenfurt's net. This was Kanaet's second goal this season, both times scoring in front of the home audience.

Some footage from the opening ceremonies.

Fans still having a blast even after the game was over.

- I am so happy to be the one to score the first goal at Arena and I am very proud on it. I was hoping that the match will turn out as a victory for us since we played so well during the second period, keeping the same rhythm in the third as well. I think we gave an excellent performance for our audience but unfortunately the match ended with our defeat - Kanaet said.

The Bears had to wait another nine minutes to score another goal. Jonathan Filewich, who was on the left, passed the puck to the middle to Wacey Rabbit. The puck then recoiled from his skate to the net and the goal was admitted after the video analysis. This was Wacey's third goal in the last three matches.

 (Nenad Dugi/Cropix)

Another two goals entered the net during the last period, one for each team (Scofield in the 44th minute, and Frank Banham 16 second later). There were some excellent opportunities on both sides until the end of the match but none of them turned into a goal. The match was decided during penalty shots. Greg Day and John Hećimović tried to score for Medveščak but Chiodo managed to defend. Dieter Kalt and Scofield both scored. It should be noted that Chris Powers suffered a mild concussion and the team might not count on him the next match.

The next match at Zagreb Arena is scheduled for Sunday when the Bears play against Vienna Capitals.

Featured post

And The Croatian City To Be A European Capital of Culture In 2020 Will Be...(Drum Roll).....Rijeka

Yep, I know it's still 2 years away and I already covered this topic last year when it was announced, but I added a few extra ima...