Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

DESPITE DISAPPOINTMENT, THE SLOVAK HOCKEY TEAM WAS WELCOMED BY JUBILANT FANS

Hockey wins no medal

THE US overwhelmed the Slovak hockey team in a match for the bronze medal of the World Championships on May 9 in Prague, leaving many fans and players in tears. Yet the team was welcomed as if victorious by nearly 1,000 jubilant fans in Bratislava.
"Nevermind", and "thank you" roared in the city's SNP square in the early morning hours of May 10, welcoming the Slovak team led by captain Miroslav Šatan of the Buffalo Sabres and coach František Hossa.


HOCKEY fans showed sadness perhaps, but no loss of pride.
photo: Ján Svrček

THE US overwhelmed the Slovak hockey team in a match for the bronze medal of the World Championships on May 9 in Prague, leaving many fans and players in tears. Yet the team was welcomed as if victorious by nearly 1,000 jubilant fans in Bratislava.

"Nevermind", and "thank you" roared in the city's SNP square in the early morning hours of May 10, welcoming the Slovak team led by captain Miroslav Šatan of the Buffalo Sabres and coach František Hossa.

The hockey fever that, of late, has swept this central European country during the championship has kept fans in great expectation of medals from their team. However, the disappointment that came when the US won the tie-breaking shootout in the team's final match did not spoil the support and admiration that the fans have for their players.

"We are glad that we ranked fourth, but the potential of our team was bigger," goalie Ján Lašák told the fans on SNP square.

Lašák broke into tears after the winning US goal and shortly after the match he blamed himself for Slovakia's loss.

"I am very sorry. The shootouts come down to who beats the goalie, and out of four shots I passed four [compared to the two goals shot by Slovakia's Šatan, and Marian Hossa of the Ottawa Senators]," said Lašák.

But teammates hurried to support the goaltender, praising Lašák for his great performance in the championships.

"Sometimes it just doesn't work out. He tended a great tournament," said Šatan.

"We had bad luck in the last matches, but I think that we do not have to be ashamed of our performance. We are sorry that we did not get the medal, though we were close to it," added forward Vladimír Országh of the Nashville Predators.

Šatan, however, did not hide his disappointment that the Slovak team failed to win any medals, describing fourth place as "the worst ranking we could reach".

"Before the tournament we would not have taken fourth place; maybe the Japanese would want it. I think that we are all disappointed because, based on the game we played, expectations were high and we believed we could at least reach a medal," said Šatan.

Coach Hossa, however, insisted that fourth place was an achievement.

"The fact that Slovakia advanced to be among the four best teams in the championships is certainly not a disappointment, he said.

"The team was great; they did fantastic work throughout the whole tournament," Hossa added.

Upon their arrival on SNP square, the team thanked the Slovak fans and Lašák described them as the "best fans in the world".

Pavol Demitra, who plays for the St Louis Blues, even promised fans that team Slovakia would compensate for the Prague championships by winning the World Cup.

Comments on the hockey results came from high politics as well, proving that it is a national sport.

At a press conference held in Bratislava on the occasion of the opening of the Swedish and Finnish embassies on May 9, Slovak PM Mikuláš Dzurinda said: "The Slovak hockey players proved their high morale and they gave a great performance."

"We had a bit of bad luck but the team's performance has to be highly appreciated," the PM said.

Top stories

It’s not easy being an ‘alien’ in Slovakia

Are Slovaks scared of foreigners? The stories of those who are trying to make their homes here suggest that ignorance and bureaucratic inertia, rather than fear, cause more problems.

Dealing with state offices may be difficult and time-demanding.

What has remained here after Stoka, Propeller or Cvernovka? Photo

The book BA!! Places of Living Culture 1989-2016 brings authentic accounts about 38 independent cultural spots in Bratislava.

Blaho Uhlár, founder of the Stoka theatre, in front of the theatre in 2006.

Nu Dance festival changes date and the finale coincides with International Dance Day

The festival of contemporary dance has not just moved in time but also from the stage to the streets, encouraging public participation.

Renan Martins: Let Me Die in My Footsteps

(W)Rapping up two worlds in one music

The Fjúžn festival annually presents interesting musical projects from people who cross borders, literally or symbolically. This year, the headliner of the main festival concert on April 22 will be the French-Iraqi…

The Iraqi-French band Aiwa