View Full Version : Hockey Night in.....Hungary??

01-08-2004, 09:05
Here is an interesting article in the Edmonton Sun about Team Canada's excursion to Hungary.

I bumped this up with the article below because I thought our new members might get a kick out of it.

Here is the link:
Originally from April 19th, 2004.


Really Hungary for hockey
They've got that bug in Budapest. Believe it!

By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Hello Canada and hockey fans in ... Hungary?

The dateline is right. Budapest. Actually, it's Buda and Pest located on opposite sides of the Danube. Who knew?

Welcome to Hockey Night In Hungary.

Who knew about that, too?

Team Canada, the defending Olympic and world champions, are here to prepare for this year's attempt to defend the title at the World Hockey Championships in Prague.

There are a lot of places on this side of the Atlantic you could pick for a short training camp and game. But Budapest?

It's all because of the remarkable happening 60 kilometres west of here back in February when 3,500 people showed up in an 800-seat arena in Szeusfehervar to watch Canada and a team of Europeans playing pro over here, prepare for the Skoda Cup.

People paid to stand under the bleachers and watch the game through other people's legs. You read right.

Standing room. Under the stands.


"It happened," said Jamie Heward, a Regina native who plays pro in Zurich in the Swiss League and was the one non-NHL player who made the world championship team last year and played in all the games.

"People stood under the stands watching between people's feet. No exaggeration. True story.

"I've told every NHL guy who showed up here how it was something else. We came in blind. We had no idea. We certainly didn't expect to find the hidden gem of the hockey world."

Gyorgy Nyuli of the Hungary Hockey Federation is Canada's liaison here, and he gets emotional just talking about what happened in February and the scene real NHL stars like Roberto Luongo, J.S. Giguere, Marc Denis, Danny Heatley, J.P. Dumont, Rob Niedermayer, Daniel Briere, Jay Bouwmeester, Edmonton Oiler Shawn Horcoff and the Canadians from the European pro teams are about to witness here.

"We sold all 10,000 tickets in one day and a half," said Nyuli.

Understand that there is no 10,000-seat arena here.

Artificial ice is being installed in a huge fieldhouse for the game, which will be telecast nationwide.

And 10,000 paying as much as $50 US a seat doesn't compute here.

Soccer is the national sport and Hungary has drawn fewer than 5,000 to games, at much lower ticket prices, lately.

It's a joke here, considering hockey's history of violence, that maybe there's a void for the game to fill now that Hungary will be admitted to the European Union on May 1 with a resulting ban on the winter ritual of public pig killings. Think how many tickets they could have sold if Todd Bertuzzi was on the team.


There are, it also ought to be noted, reports that hockey is now being played outdoors down the road in Transylvania.

Hey, I'm not making this stuff up.

"Hockey is going up more and more every day," said Nyuli. "This game alone will do amazing things for hockey in my country."

Two years ago there were two indoor arenas in all of Hungary. Now there are four.

"The February game was on the front page on all the papers," he said of the six tabloids and five broadsheets.

"It is such a big thing to have Canada here. To think it could happen three or four years ago, even last year ... impossible!"

Five members of the Skoda Cup team, filling uniforms for players who will join the team in Prague, showed up here a day before the NHL players and found 300 fans cheering them when they stepped on the ice in the practice rink. There were 700 there for the team's first full practice.

"I've been blown away by how excited everybody is here," said Horcoff after the team took a tour of town in their first full day here yesterday.

"I couldn't imagine ever coming here. There's a lot of history here. And it's beautiful.

"It's unbelievable how much people here are excited that Canada is playing here. It was the same way last year when we went to Riga, Latvia."

The tour included the Royal Palace, the cathedral-like Parliament Buildings and Statue Park, a collection of 30 huge communist-era statues which were taken down when the Iron Curtain came down in 1989 and, instead of being destroyed, were hauled off "far enough from the city centre not to give the locals nightmares," according to the promotional material.


"I think we were all pleasantly surprised to discover what a nice city this is. On the bus tour we got to the top of the city and the same words came out of everybody's mouth.

'Wow!' " said Heward.

"I think this game is great for everybody involved. Like last year. When they said we were going to camp and play in Riga, Latvia, the reaction was 'Why go there?' This year they said Budapest, Hungary. The reaction was 'You've got to be kidding.'

"But you listen to Horcoff and Bouwmeester telling the other guys about Riga last year and saying how it was one of the best times they've ever had in their hockey lives. Next year players will probably be talking about Budapest like that, too."

Hockey Night in Hungary.

The tradition begins.

01-08-2004, 09:06
I thought that some of our new members might get a kick out of these 2 stories.

They are orginally from the week of April 20th (one above is April 19th, below from April 21st), about Team Canada's preparations in Hungary.

original link:

Just one big 'hoki' happy
Hungarian fans, players thrilled to be on same ice with Canada - and to think that the score ended up only 9-2!

By TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- It was the greatest moment in "hoki" history.

A minute remained when 10,162 stood as one and cheered the moment, their Hungarian heroes for not turning into goulash soup on the occasion and the Canadians for coming.

The crowd stayed and cheered as the two teams posed for a picture as one and followed with a victory lap around the ice together.

"It was fantastic," said national netminder Krisztian Budai.

"It was a big moment, the biggest moment for hockey in Hungary. It was the biggest moment for every one of us who played tonight.

"It was an honour to play so many NHL players. I am so happy. It was such a great atmosphere.

"And I'm happy it was no more than nine."

Nine is the number of goals Budai gave up in Pest (the game was played on the Pest side of the Danube, not the Buda side) as Team Canada provided this special game prior to heading to Prague for the World Hockey Championships, which begin this weekend.

OK., history wasn't exactly made back home with this one. Canada's greatest moment in sport on Budapest ice will still be the one back in 1988. It was on the same site before the Iron Curtain came down and the arena burned down, that Kurt Browning landed the first quad in the history of figure skating at his first Worlds.


But for hockey in a country which has only four arenas, two more than two years ago and about eight fewer than they expect to have two years from now, a 9-2 loss to Canada was something to behold.

While one of the goals was scored on his own net as Dany Heatley completed his hat trick with two for Canada and one for Hungary, the host team did what they hoped they could do - showcase themselves and their sport against the world champions from the home of hockey.

Oh, it wasn't the same scene as the February game in Szeusfehervar involving the Skoda Cup team made up of Canadian players playing pro in Europe. They didn't sell standing room under the stands, as was the case when 3,500 fans crammed a building which seats 800. Nobody paid to stand under the stands and look through legs and between feet to see Canada play this one.

"It was the same kind of atmosphere, just with more people," said Jamie Heward, one of the Swiss League Canadians who filled out the lineup for Team Canada, a full-fledged member of last year's world champion team who played in the standing room under the stands game in Szeusfehervar.

"This was great. It was great for their players. They played hard against us but we could tell it was a pretty big thrill."

The only sense in which the Hungarian national team, just back from finishing fourth in their section of world championship 'B' pool qualifying in Oslo, could be considered an eyesore was the uniforms they wore. There was so much advertising on their outfits, the only place to put 'Hungary' was on the sleeves running under their arm pits.

There were also 10 advertising logos on the ice, most of which were painted in black - not a good idea when you're playing with a black puck. In the stands, however, it was all colour. Surprisingly there were about 100 NHL jerseys and at least as many Team Canada sweaters in the stands as there were on the ice.

Oh, there were a few glitches. Team Canada was announced All-Star Game style but the three goalies and first three skaters came on the ice in complete darkness before the spotlight guy was ready.

But that was long forgotten when the national anthem was sung and a thousand Hungarian flags were suddenly produced as if out of nowhere. The flags were waved the rest of the night as the fans cheered their team to whatever heights they could hit.

The crowd started to fade somewhat when it was 6-0 Canada in the middle of the second period. But then the puck was turned over in the Canadian zone and Tamas Groschl suddenly had it on his stick in the deep slot without a red uniform in sight except the guy in pads in front of him. He shoots. He ...

"Goooooooooooooooooal!" the announcer screamed on the national telecast.

Magyarorszag 1, Kanada 6.

The place went nuts.


A Hungarian had scored against Canada. Not just against Canada but against J.S. Giguere, Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of last year's Stanley Cup.

"What a pleasure," said Groschl.

"Everything about tonight was a pleasure."

The Hungarian fans didn't go delirious when Heatley scored on his own net attempting to clear a puck in the third period. Soccer is the national sport. They know an "own goal" when they see one.

"It was fun," said Heatley. "It was an excellent experience for everybody."

There was only one question as Team Canada left the building last night: where they might think of to play next year before the world championships in Vienna?

Does Turkey have a team?

01-08-2004, 09:13
It is a pity that strong team so rarely want to play with weaker teams, it is great opportunity to promote ice hockey in this countries. Author has right Turkey have a team, then I will wait for this match in Istanbul! ;) :-*

It would make sense for hockey to get big in Hungary, as it is right next to Slovakia, who is a power.

@Gurj -
Originally two separate cities you will find the flat banks of Pest on one side and the high green hills of Buda on the other.
You can

Yeah, that was a great story. I remember reading the news about how happy the Hungarian fans were, especially when their player scored on an NHL goalie. Some people might have said it was "meaningless" but I'm sure they would argue with that.

Maybe if there is a lockout/strike in the NHL next season, Hockey Canada should put together a team (or two or three) and tour countries like this, playing against their teams. Stuff like this is just great for the sport.

Hey Slav'O'Meer - I'm one of the few people in Canada who already knew that! 8-)

"Hungarianfan" a member of this board from, well Hungary, can attest to that!

aj - I agree wholeheartedly! We need more stories like this and hopefully Team Canada will do something like this next year - maybe Poland - another country where Hockey could use a boost!

I'm not sure what a trip to the UK would result in.....What do you think?

Hi guys (and girls)!

That match was fantastic for us! Unfortunately I saw only on our sport channel, not at the stadium.
We shouted so loudly at our 1st goal, than we would shout at our leading goal!

It is great that Canada came here (in this case not "only" with their european league players team), but with their 1st team!

I was so happy, that we scored 2 goals, and got only 9!
4 years ago the difference would have been at least 15!

Hockey is improving here year by year, little by little. So does the popularity. More and more people interesting in this beautiful sport. Our results is getting better (beating Slovakia by 4-2 next year and lost against by 5-4 against european-canadian team).

Thanks Team Canada for the match, which counts a lot, and a big support for us.

I think in 3 years time, we will do the impossible (promotion to Pool A)!

There are negotiations here, to organize a tournament, including Sweden, Slovakia, and Canada in next year's february. The main "problem", that we will have (if we will win our olymp qualif group) the 2nd stage olympic qualifier matches in february.

The UK needs to do a lot more to increase the profile of hockey. Having Team Canada play a game or two here would be excellent. There are enough NHL fans around who would come out to see their heroes, and then they would be exposed to some of the best British players as well.
I also thought it would be a good idea for an NHL team (or teams) to play preseason exhibition games here, and get some fans excited about hockey.

Canada have played in the UK in the past. Most recently about 5 years ago. Admittedly, these were the touring Canadian sides and not ones with NHL players.

However, the NHL used to play a game at Wembley at the start of the season in the early 90s for a few games. In the end they stopped playing because they couldn't sell enough tickets. The initial interest that saw about 8500 (sell out is 10000) turn up to see Chicago and Montreal in 1992 dwindled after it was no longer a novelty.

The problem is that Britain is a very insular hockey culture (to be honest, you could probably remove the word "hockey" from that sentence... :-* ). The percentage of British hockey fans that show any interest in even the NHL is fairly small. Admittedly that has increased since Channel 5 and NASN started showing more games. But, even so, I don't think it would have that big an impact. Britain needs to improve it's sport from the grass roots up. I honestly don't see any other way.


on May 23rd, 2004, 10:38am, hungarianfan wrote:
There are negotiations here, to organize a tournament, including Sweden, Slovakia, and Canada in next year's february. The main "problem", that we will have (if we will win our olymp qualif group) the 2nd stage olympic qualifier matches in february.

I'm guessing not a full strength Sweden squad since the Sweden Hockey Games will also be in February?


I think Hungary is going to be the next Denmark. Both these countries will be in the top in less than 10 years.

The sport is exploding like crazy in these two countries and they put more established countries like Britain to shame.

Thanx Doogster!

We will try to do our best to be the next Denmark, but we haven't got such funds, than they have.
Anyway, keeping working and willing will bring the better results.

Hajrá Magyarország! (Let's go Hungary)

Hungary's future is indeed bright; a big problem was the Soviet reprisals after the 1956 revolution. Arena projects were then shelved and moved to either Poland or Czechoslovakia....last I saw, Poland has 20 rinks, Slovakia 35, Czech Republic 97, and Hungary 4.

I'm working on a website to make Hungarian hockey known to the world...the URL is


Oh, if anyone knows anything at all about game-used jerseys from league teams or the international teams, I'm looking for that information. Thanks!