International Ice Hockey Federation

Martinec awaits Worlds

Martinec awaits Worlds

Hockey legend is looking forward to full arenas

Published 28.04.2015 11:34 GMT+2 | Author Marek Kratochvíl, Jan Hrabal
Martinec awaits Worlds
Vladimir Martinec with his stick from the 1972 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
In 1972, he reached for gold in Prague and six years later, he took silver. Vladimir Martinec believes in the Czech team’s success.

After 11 years, the Czech Republic will host the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship again. Vladimir Martinec won’t miss the games for sure; he played for medals in Prague twice while being an active player.

“I’m looking forward to it really much. The Worlds will be back in the Czech Republic after 11 years. The tournament in 2004 had an amazing quality and it will be the same this year as well. The preparations were decent and all will be on the highest level. Not only Prague and Ostrava, but the whole republic is going to live with ice hockey,” he said.

More than half a million of fans are going to arrive at the arenas during the tournament. All games of the Czech national team are sold out as well as some other ones. “News about the interest among fans pleased me,” Martinec confirmed.

„It’s bad if the games are played in empty arenas. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere in the arenas and if they’re sold out, that is the best for sure. The fans will make everybody puts everything into the games,” he continued.

Only few days are left before the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship begins and whole country is waiting for it. “I remember it was the same back in our days. It was difficult to get tickets. There were 14,000 fans at every of our games and also on many other ones,” he smiled.

“The pressure on us wasn’t so big. Now it’s different. There were three newspapers and one TV channel back then and that was it. We were all from Czechoslovakia and everybody knew us. It was much smaller, more like a family. Nobody was thrilled when he met Nedomansky or Martinec in town. That was easier for us,” Vladimir Martinec said.

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40 or 50 years ago, national teams were mostly filled with players from domestic leagues, now the coaches have to find the best team out of hundred of players.

“That’s another difference of these days. Some boys go overseas while they’re still young and others stay here. Everybody can choose his own hockey path according to his abilities. When I was young nobody went anywhere and the national team didn’t go through many changes. If there were some, it was mostly because of injuries. This was one of the factors behind our successful seventies,” Martinec said.

In seventies, the Soviets won most of the World Championships, but the Czechs managed to interrupt their rule three times – in Prague 1972, in Katowice 1976 and in Vienna 1977.

“Now there are six or seven teams that belong among the elite and have ambitions for gold. Including the Czech Republic of course,” Martinec, who scored 159 goals in 292 games for national team, said.

The most recent triumph of the Czech Republic is from 2010 and the years that followed brought two more bronze medals. “We still belong amongst the elite teams. Now it’s time to win again, but it will be difficult. The final game on 17th May would suit us well and the nation deserves it,” Martinec said about his wish.


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