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Slovakia

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Slovakia
EU location SVK
Flag and abbrev. Flag of Slovakia SVK
Continent Europe
Leader Ivan Gašparovič
(President)
Population 5,455,407 (as of 2008)
Registered players 9,870
Percentage 0,002%
National team Slovakian National Team
National federation Slovenský zväz ľadového hokeja
IIHF ranking 8th (-2)
Top league Slovak Extraliga
Current champion HC Slovan Bratislava

Slovakia (long form: Slovak Republic; Slovak: Slovensko, long form Slovenská republika) is a landlocked country in Central Europe with a population of over five million and an area of about 49,000 square kilometres (almost 19,000 square miles). The Slovak Republic borders the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south. The largest city is its capital, Bratislava. Slovakia is a member state of the European Union, NATO, OECD, WTO, and other international organizations.

OrganisationEdit

Slovak hockey scheme
Elite SLOVNAFT Extraliga (13)
Second Slovak 1.Liga (16)
Third Slovak 2.Liga A (9) Slovak 2.Liga B (6)

History of hockey in SlovakiaEdit

The first organised ice hockey game in Slovakia was played in 1921. Three years later, CSSK Bratislava played Slovakias's first international game, losing to Wiener EV of Austria. Hockey in Slovakia received a major boost in popularity after the European Championships of 1925, hosted by Czechoslovakia.

InternationalEdit

Slovakia

Info

Rinks

Players

Referees

38

Population

5,379,455

Indoor

45

Total

8,671

Male

--

Capital

Bratislava

Outdoor

21

Male

1,886

Female

--

IIHF Since

February 2 1993

Junior

6,497

Female

288

The Slovak men's national ice hockey team is the national ice hockey team of Slovakia and is controlled by the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation. As of March 2010, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the world governing body of hockey, ranks them as the seventh strongest national team in the world. It is one of the most successful national ice hockey teams in the world. The team's general manager is Peter Bondra and their head coach is Glen Hanlon. Slovakia has a total of 12,375 hockey players enrolled in organized ice hockey (0.23% of its population). The Slovak U20, U18, Womens, and Womens U18 teams also participate in the world championships.

In the last sixteen years, Slovakia has won three medals at the World Championships, including a gold medal in 2002 in Sweden. In winter Olympic games, Slovakia's highest achievement is 4th place in Vancouver 2010. In the tournament they won against favourites Russia and Sweden, and narrowly lost against Canada in the semifinals and against Finland in the bronze medal game.

The Slovak national team was formed following the breakup of Czechoslovakia, as the country was split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. For years, the Czechs kept control over how the national team was run, and even had quotas instituted to ensure a minimal participation of Slovak players on the Czechoslovakian national team.[citation needed] While the Czechs were allowed to compete at the highest pool (A), the IIHF ruled that because fewer players of the former Czechoslovak team were Slovaks, Slovakia would be required to start international play in Pool C. However, Slovakia's play in the lower pools won it promotion to pool A by 1996. See also Post-Cold War period of the IIHF world championships.

In the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Slovak team was unable to use its National Hockey League (NHL) players in the preliminary round due to a scheduling conflict. This affected all of the smaller countries, but devastated the Slovak team as most of their players were coming from NHL teams. The NHL had decided to only allow their players to participate in the final medal round, and thus Slovakia failed to qualify finishing a disappointing 13th. This turn of events was troubling to the entire hockey community, and the rules were changed for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.

Notable Slovak national team members and current NHL players include Pavol Demitra of the Vancouver Canucks; Marián Gáborík of the New York Rangers; brothers Marián Hossa and Marcel Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks and Dinamo Riga, respectively; Miroslav Šatan; and the tallest player in NHL history, Zdeno Chára. In the late 1990s, the St. Louis Blues placed Ľuboš Bartečko, Michal Handzuš, and Demitra on the same line. This trio became known as the "Slovak Pack," and were able to communicate in their native language without the opposition knowing what they were saying, unless of course they also spoke/understood Slovak. Notable players from Slovakia include,

National teamsEdit

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