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Monday, 1 December 2014

Sneak Peek: Zagreb Bears Spengler Cup Jerseys & New Kantrida Stadium Update (Photos/Video)

I originally posted this story HERE. Quite an honour for the Croatian hockey club Zagreb Bears (KHL Medveščak Zagreb) to be invited to play in this annual club hockey tournament. Lots of people probably didn't know that hockey has a history in Croatia reaching back to the turn of the last century, so playing this year at the prestigious Spengler Cup will bring even more exposure to the Zagreb Bears and Croatian hockey. It is often cited as the oldest invitational ice hockey tournament in the world. (The Spengler Cup is broadcast on Schweizer Fernsehen in Switzerland, on Eurosport 2 in most of Europe, on RTR Sport in Russia, on Nova Sport in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Nuvolari in Italy, ky in Mexico and on TSN and RDS in Canada)

A number of the players on the team are Croatian or from North America of Croatian descent, but there also are other North Americans and from other European countries currently playing on the team as well, which should make it weird when they play Canada as they are in the same group. But that's the way sports goes these days, even hockey. (They'll probably get pelted with stones when they get back for being a bunch Conrad Blacks) It should be an interesting tournament and definitely good hockey excitement and exposure anyway.

"You mean that them there Croatians is startin' to playin' the hockeys now?"...anonymous - Airdrie, AB.

Since being promoted from the Austrian Hockey League (EBEL). the Zagreb Bears surprised everyone by making the play-offs in their first season in the KHL, they have also broken league records during their first KHL season and even some world records over the last couple of years also. Anyway, below is a sneak peek of the jersey they will be wearing later this month, make of it what you will. If you're in the area and are thinking about going, tickets and accommodations information at, and I would also pick up a jersey if I were you, it will be a very historic jersey down the road. Plenty more information, pics and videos about the Zagreb Bears and Croatian hockey at the links.

As for the 2nd post, I thought I would really weird it up and make a 2 in 1 post about hockey and soccer. That's pretty bizarre and rare and just plain zany, hockey and soccer in the same post. Anyway, I updated the original post with some more images and video so I thought I might as well throw that in also. The new Kantrida stadium, surrounding complex and the training camp field/stadium that is also now being built should look pretty cool when it's all done. HNK Rijeka will have the best training facilities in all of Croatia in 2015 on top of the nifty new modern stadium in 2016.

Exclusive Medveščak Jerseys for the Alps

Image/text source:


Medvescak is grouped with Team Canada and home team HC Davos.

There are less than thirty days remaining until another round of the oldest hockey tournament in the world, the Spengler Cup, kicks off in Switzelrand's Davos between Christmas and New Year – during the time of year that has a special charm. As was announced in yesterday's Tournament media conference, held in Zurich, Davos is anxiously awaiting the start of the tournament and the first puck drop will open with last year's tournament winners Geneve Servette and the tournament's furthest East team Salavat Yulaev from Russia. Medvescak was represented at the press conference by Markoantonio Belinic, who stated that:

''The Spengler Cup is a very strong competitively organized tournament in which it’s hard to talk about favourites since anyone could beat anyone both by the way the tournament is organized as well as because of the quality of the teams. Our goal is to play as well as possible, to present our club, Zagreb, and Croatia in a good and dignified way, to try making it to the finals, and of course, to win as many games as we can.''


This opportunity was also taken to present the exclusive jerseys each team will wear in the Spengler Cup. Teams that play in the Spengler Cup don't wear their regular championship jerseys, and instead the organizer – in the spirit of tradition and overall atmosphere – designs and creates the participating clubs' jerseys, which gives the whole tournament and its visual experience a special touch. The most faithful fans who come to Davos to cheer on the Bears and want to own those jerseys will have the opportunity to purchase them for 150 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Promotional video from 2012 during their time in the EBEL League.

KHL Medvescak Intro video | Season 2013/2014. More videos at:

Behind the scenes at a Zagreb Bears home game during the 2012 EBEL season.

Some footage from 2012 of the atmosphere at a Zagreb Bears home hockey game.

Medvescak is grouped with Team Canada, who were coached in the Spengler Cup by Doug Shedden for the past five years, and home team HC Davos. On the other hand, even though the official Spengler Cup website says that defending champions Geneve Servette are in an 'easier' group with Jokerit and Ufa, Coach Chris McSorley is still going to have his work cut out for him to defend the title. If they do well in their group, the rest of the tournament might see them go up against their fellow Swedes HC Davos, Team Canada, or Medvescak. But, that makes Servette no different from the others. At a tournament made up of six top teams, anyone can beat anyone, and there's no easy road to the top.

A few other Zagreb Bears jersey versions worn over the years, including more rare special occasion jerseys. (Click top pic for larger gallery views)


KHL Medveščak are approaching the 60th year of their existence, however probably many people don't know that Croatian skating associations had started already in 1894 and that the first first official game on natural ice was played in the winter of 1916 between HAŠK (Croatian Academic Sport Club) and PHŠD (First Croatian Sport Society). The hockey club was named Medveščak because of the Zagreb neighbourhood where the arena was located, which in turn was so named because of the numerous bears recorded as inhabiting the surrounding area since the early Middle Ages, the Croatian word for bear being "Medvjed." (The nearby Medvednica/Bear Mountain and the medieval fort castle Medvedgrad/Bear-town also overlooks the city).



















New Kantrida Stadium In Rijeka Update: Photos/Video

So I came back from the corner store and was approached by a crack whore, (It might even have been a guy, I wasn't sure, too much of that going on around here, and then a guy who asked me if I wanted to buy some parsley wrapped up in tinfoil, he called it pot, I said "no thanks, do I look like Rob Ford? My associates already have guns and will put in your mouth and blow your pointless face off, but thanks for asking and have a swell day anyway")...and that experience immediately reminded me that corner stores around here are not my thing and that I might as well update this story when I got home, and then not touch it again until the stadium is completed. It seems the updated construction plans will now have the new Kantrida Stadium on the outside look like Allianz Arena, and the interior stands and field will be layed out similarly to Juventus Stadium. (The same architect who designed Juventus Stadium is also doing Kantrida Stadium)

Construction on the new stadium will begin near the end of this year and is planned to be completed in 2016. The current historic and distinctive Kantrida Stadium just recently celebrated 100 years of existence, so perfect timing for a new state of the art modern stadium. According to the sources I read, the rocky cliffs that are located on the east side, giving Kantrida Stadium a part of it's distinctive atmosphere over the last century, will remain but be adjusted and redesigned. The ground will also be raised 4 meters to prevent any possible flooding in the stadium. (A completely different sports building, but the exterior sort of reminds me of Arena Zagreb when it's lit up at night)

In a nutshell, current plans are for over 14,000 seats for spectators, and comfortably accommodate about 18,000 spectators including the standing room. Not exactly on the scale of 40-70,000 seats like Juventus or Allianz stadium, but for the size of the city of Rijeka, that's just about right and will do fine. (I mentioned last year HERE, that a stadium around the 15,000 range would be a good fit for a city the size of metropolitan Rijeka, which is just around 215,000)

There was talk over the last few years of finally getting the club a brand new modern stadium, improvements and renovations were also made recently, but then after Italian millionaire Gabriele Volpi became part owner of HNK Rijeka 2012, he was also big supporter of getting the football club and city a new modern 21st century stadium. Planning and talks with the city authorities then went into high gear.

 Current view of Kantrida Stadium.

In the area of the current training field and parking lot, there will be constructed houses and buildings with restaurants and shops as outlets. Sort of a little "Village Rijeka Kantrida." A place for people to go before and after the soccer games, but also open on other days. There will also be a "Museum of HNK Rijeka" as well as a much larger fan shop. There will be accommodation capacity on the east side of the stadium for clubs and other visitors at the new 4-star hotel. Top medical facilities (clinics, rehabilitation, physiotherapy).

I personally got to see this stadium, the nearby swimming complex and surrounding area in person, and took a bunch of pics. (Post HERE) So if you want to see the current and original Kantrida Stadium in person, (a stadium which has been on numerous world lists for "Unusual, WierdestUnique and Wonderful Looking Stadiums" because of it's location and incredible surrounding view)...then you still have time. (I also spent 2 whole summers in Rijeka when 11 and 12 years old, so that's why I like posting about some current events and projects like this, some great memories from this city, so I like to see that it's moving onward and forward)

Anyway, this stadium project should look pretty cool when it's all done, that whole stretch from the Kantrida Swimming Complex, plus the new beach promenade already built nearby, it will all flow together pretty amazingly. For those who want to keep up to date with the new stadium project, a website is up and running which will update plans, news and information right up until the stadiums completion at

Previous posts: hnk-rijeka-pull-off-europa-league-upset




HNK Rijeka president Damir Mišković, Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel and current majority owner Gabriele Volpi commenting about the new stadium plans and footage of what the new stadium will look like after completion. More info:


Previous posts: hnk-rijeka-pull-off-europa-league-upset





On Monday, 15th September 2014 on the site of the future training camp on Rujevica, where HNK Rijeka will play some of their matches until the new stadium is completed, the preparatory field works of forming a platform for future construction have already started. Namely, the construction permit for the mentioned works was issued on 22nd August 2014.

The training camp is an infratructure complex made of more football fields, whose goal is to meet the requirements of professional sports and high criteria of basis and conditions for the training process as the prerequisite for the achievement of the set of plans for the future generations of young football school and senior team. This training camp stadium will be the temporary home stadium of the the club in 2015 until the new Kantrida stadium is completed in 2016. Some images and video footage of the new training camp stadiums below.

Work on the new training camp stadium and fields has already begun, and besides being used by HNK Rijeka it will also be used by local juvenile soccer teams and youth  leagues as well.

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