When Slovakia gained independence from the former Communist Czechoslovakia in the 1990s, it took some time before the various national sports teams gelled together, such as is inevitable when an entirely new country emerges. However, the people of this region have a curious affinity to ice hockey, although it might not have the climate of other powerhouse nations like Finland, Russia or Canada, the spirit is strong and appetite is great for this sport in Slovakia. Indeed the interiors minister was suitably laconic when a journalist asked him what his hopes were from Slovakia qualifying for the Ice Hockey World Championships in 1998, he said: "I hope it will help people to stop confusing us with Slovenia".
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Despite being a small nation, the senior men's ice hockey team of Slovakia is always ranked in the top ten worldwide, they have even been as high as third, which is a point of pride among Slovak nationals. So when Slovakia Ice hockey Tickets become available for the major championships or the Winter Olympic Games, there is a feeding frenzy to get the seats that are closest to the action. As every ice hockey fan knows, the nearer to the rink you are, the more immersed you will become in the game. Plus you get to see some of the big hits right up close and personal. It is not for the faint hearted but nobody said it was going to be a walk in the park. As well as the men's team, Slovakia's International Women's Ice Hockey team are a force to be reckoned with; although they don't tend to get on the podium, they have a string of impressive results against the established giants in qualification tournaments They also hold the record of an astonishing 82-0 victory against Bulgaria in 2008, which is still a record today.
The heat is on, the time is right for Going for Gold
Among the most famous players to have pulled on the white and blue jersey are Peter Pucher and Miroslav Satan, both of whom also starred in the top North American league, along with many of their countrymen. As leading points scorer of all time, Satan now sits on the coaching staff in an advisory role as well as being the team's lucky mascot and motivational speaker. Meanwhile Pucher works as a studio expert and commentator for some of the biggest domestic and international fixtures for the host broadcaster. There is every chance that the men and women will continue to improve and one day they might even be playing in the gold medal match.