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Saturday, 12 October 2013

Zagreb Bears Extend Winning Streak To 8 Games







Zagreb Bears players celebrate after a goal last night in Ukraine against Donbass. Medvescak Zagreb are currently on an 8 game winning streak. More info and image gallery: www.hrsport.net





If this post looks familiar to you, you are right. This is the exact same post from 10 days ago when the Zagreb Bears turned up the heat and won their 4th game in a row. All the previous post and related links are already here. (In the aviation industry this is known as streamlining)  Well, as of today Medvescak Zagreb (In Croatian "Medvescak" means "Bears")... have doubled their winning streak now to 8 games, not too shabby. They are also now 3rd in their conference. They're not doing it the easy way either, against Dinamo Minsk a few days ago they were down early 2-0, but regrouped to win their 6th straight 3-2.

Like I mention in the original post, the success of the Zagreb Bears is great because they're not just a team playing in a Croatian league, but are traveling across Europe and Russia representing not only Zagreb, but also Croatia, considering they are the only Croatian team in the KHL. This was also the case during previous years when they played in the Austrian based EBEL league. More info about the Zagreb Bears hockey club can be found at their website. www.medvescak.com






Zagreb Bears Holding Their Own In The KHL.




2013 edition of the Zagreb Bears. Image: www.medvescak.com





The Zagreb Bears (Croatian: Medveščak Zagreb) are playing their rookie season in the KHL this year. (For those not in the know, the KHL is considered to be the 2nd best hockey league in the world and best in Europe. It's where all the NHL'ers go during lockouts and where up and comers go to play hockey and hone their skills, or as I like to humorously say sometimes, to play hockey during their all expenses paid European vacations)  The "Bears" were promoted to the KHL last year after playing in the Austrian EBEL league. Anyway, they're in the midst of a 4 game winning streak and are now right in the think of it, only 4 points out of 1st in their division.

There's a lot more hockey to be played though, but it never hurts to have a nifty little winning streak to show the rest of the KHL that Zagreb Medveščak are for real and no pushover . Then I came across some video footage I never saw before during all my previous Zagreb Bears posts. Some interesting and rare behind the scenes footage about the Zagreb Bears fans, players and the atmosphere at their games. (The videos are in English and English subtitles) The 2013 version jerseys look pretty cool to me, I like all their versions though. They play and pretty well sell out most of their homes games at Dom Sportova, but sometimes also at the newer Arena Zagreb.








Tickets for Zagreb Bears hockey games are easily the hottest ticket in town and best bang for the buck entertainment product regarding professional sports teams in Zagreb. The success of Zagreb Medveščak is a boon and win-win situation in many regards from the way I see it. Firstly, of course, exposure for the game of hockey. Secondly, for putting Zagreb (and Croatia) on the hockey map in the sports world, exposure of the great atmosphere and fan base in Zagreb. The Zagreb Bears franchise has shown that it is a professionally run organization with tremendous support from the fan base that is only growing, all the while participating in an internationally respected sports league. Thirdly, and this may actually be the most important reason, it gives home grown Croatian hockey talent an avenue to become better and more competitive players, perhaps even NHL players down the road. The Zagreb Bears also give young Croatian kids with hockey interest and talent something to aspire to besides to cheer for, because they do actually represent Croatia in the KHL too when it all comes down to it.  Croatian kids from Zagreb to Rijeka, from Dubrovnik to Vukovar, from Osijek to Karlovac and everywhere in between. Croatian kids have actually been learning to play hockey even in the town of Pula. (Yes that Pula!..some footage from 2008 HERE, and a bunch of 8 year olds from the city of Sisak playing their first ever official hockey game HERE in 2010 are just a few examples)

I'm not going to get into the whole history of hockey in Croatia or the Zagreb Bears here, in case this hockey in Croatia topic is all shocking news to you. (And yes, I played league hockey when I was growing up in case you were wondering) Quite a few players on the team are Canadian...(as well as Croatian, Slovenian, American, Finnish, Danish, Slovakian etc)..so this is a good example of Croatia promoting hockey, which in many circles is considered Canada's national game, so in effect promoting Canada, unlike thisthis or this and numerous other related examples. (Can anyone beat the promotion of hockey by playing in an outdoor 2000 year old Roman Amphitheater when there are +30 degree daytime temperatures and people still swimming nearby? We Croatians are a crazy and sick bunch I tell you, we're f***ing mental, yo-yo's foaming at the mouth bonkers and maniacs )  Hockey in Croatia is not as popular as soccer, (nogomet...your 4th Croatian word of the day)...which is pretty well the most popular sport in Europe, but it has gained much more exposure over the years especially because of the Zagreb Bears, even the national team has been doing well, only 1 step from the international 1st division. (This hockey story is probably surprising for those people who usually only come across those summer touristy images and vids from the Croatian coast, Croatia is much, much more than just the summer time coast) More about hockey in Croatia at www.hrhokej.net.  Anyway, click onto my previous post links at the very bottom for much more info, images and videos from their play over the past few years, or you can keep up to date at their official website www.medvescak.com


Related: khl.ru/clubs/medvescak

www.vecernji.hr

www.hrhokej.net

www.hrsport.net

www.youtube.com/user/MEDVESCAKizbliza





Pregame footage from their very first home game in the KHL season and a very surprising 7-1 win against a powerful CSKA Moscow club.




Pregame fan footage from their first KHL home game in 2013. (I'm not positive, but I think that's Goran Ivanisevic at the 16 second mark)




The below 3 videos are the one's I never saw before so I had to add them here. Interesting behind the scenes footage of fans, players and interviews from their EBEL league season in 2012. (English subtitles)




More similar behind the scenes videos at www.youtube.com/user/MEDVESCAKizbliza




Behind the scenes footage from their games at the Arena Zagreb during the 2012 EBEL league season. (English and English subtitles)




Behind the scenes montage from a game at Arena Zagreb in 2012.




Previous Posts: zagreb-bears-hockey-team-promoted-to-khl

zagreb-medvescak-fill-zagreb-arena-for-ice-fever

zagreb-medvescak-advance-to-ebel-semi-finals

zagrebs-medvescak-name-canadian-coach

zagreb-medvescak-fill-roman-amphitheater

canadian-croat-breaks-nhl-record-zagreb-bears-streak

pittsburgh-penguins-and-khl-medvescak

joe-sakic-soon-to-be-hockey-hall-of-fame

zagreb-medvescak-ec-kac-in-ebel-hockey-brawl

zagreb-medvescak-fill-zagreb-arena-joe-sakic-speaks-croatian




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