Celebrating 25 years since Nagano at the O2 Arena: a duel of Czech and Slovak hockey legends
Twenty-five years since the historic triumph of the Czech hockey team at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano will pass in February next year. The Czech hockey team will celebrate this special anniversary with a special moment – on 10 February they will face their Slovak counterparts in Prague’s O2 arena.
And they are looking forward to a unique duel and an emotional commemoration of one of the most famous moments in the history of Czech hockey. “I’m really looking forward to it. Especially if it’s in the context of the anniversary of the greatest success of our hockey. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to come together. But it doesn’t mean that we won’t fight for the victory! The rivalry will be there, although it’s more of a friendly one at the moment. We won’t give the guys from Slovakia anything for free and our fans will surely be satisfied,” says Martin Ručínský, a member of the golden Olympic team from Nagano.
The duel with their Slovak counterparts took place recently – in September at the Ondrej Nepela Stadium in Bratislava, the Czech team won the “Legends are back” event 5:4. A rematch in style is set for February. The holders of the greatest hockey achievements of the last quarter of a century will take to the ice.
Jaromír Jágr, Petr Nedvěd, David Výborný, Jaroslav Bednář, Patrik Eliáš, Petr Klíma, Robert Reichel, Jiří Tlustý, Jan Hlaváč, Jaroslav Hlinka, Tomáš Vlasák, Zbyněk Irgl, Jaroslav Nedvěd, Lukáš Krajíček, Jakub Nakládal and Libor Procházka are ready to wear the Czech jersey again. The team bench also promises an interesting sight – Martin Ručínský, Martin Straka, Josef Beránek, Pavel Patera and Jaroslav Špaček will be standing next to each other.
The line-up of the Slovak team is also clearly emerging – it will not include Ľubomír Višňovský, Marián Gáborík, Marián Hossa, Žigmund Pálffy, Richard Zedník, Richard Lintner or the current president of the Slovak Hockey Association Miroslav Šatan. “I am looking forward to the rematch in Prague and I believe that we will repay the Czech players for the loss on our home ice,” said Ľubomír Višňovský.
The organizing agency Eniva is preparing an extraordinary hockey programme. “Just as the Czech victory in the final of the Olympic tournament in Nagano was a unique day, the match between Czech and Slovak legends in the O2 arena should be a unique experience. We want the spectators and children to enjoy not only hockey, but also other entertainment,” says Andrea Bársony from the organizing agency Eniva. “I’m really happy that we managed to organise the “Legends are back” match in Bratislava and now we are preparing a rematch in the O2 arena, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Nagano gold medal. I look forward to the fans having the opportunity to see legendary Czech and Slovak hockey personalities together on the ice. We believe that a ticket to this game could be a very attractive Christmas present for many fans.”
A lot of accompanying events are being prepared. “We are planning to involve the spectators in interaction with the hockey players, either on the ice or during the signing events, there will be merchandising for adults and children, or competitions during breaks,” adds Tomáš Janků, who is producing the event.
The atmosphere of the game will be complemented by the moderator duo Libor Bouček and Marcel Forgáč. The hockey match will be broadcast live on O2 TV Sport and Slovak TV JOJ. The match will also have a charity dimension. Proceeds from the jersey auction will go to support Czech Para-hockey.
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