HC Slovan Ústečtí Lvi
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|HC Slovan Ústečtí Lvi|
|City||Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic|
|League||1. národní hokejová liga|
|Home arena||Zlatopramen Arena|
|Colours||blue and yellow|
|Head coach||Jan Votruba|
HC Slovan Ústečtí Lvi is an ice hockey team in the Czech First League (1. národní hokejová liga) (the second division). Their home arena is Zlatopramen Arena in Ústí nad Labem. Before 2007, the team was known as HC Slovan Ústí nad Labem.
The beginning of ice hockey in Ústí nad Labem dates back to the end of the Second World War. In 1945 a group of enthusiastic people got together and with Jaroslav Kropáč as a leading figure they founded in 1946 hockey club Sokol Ústí nad Labem. After couple of months they took their cue from namesake in Prague and founded LTC (1946 – 1948). They entered West north group of winter sports and started to play in competitions regularly.
In the following years (1949 – 1959) the club changed its name to ZSJ Armaturka. In 1959 the club changed its owner and subsequently its name to TJ Chemička and played under this name until 1963. However, in this year the chemical company closed the hockey club for financial difficulties. After numerous meeting with the city representatives it was decided not to allow the end of hockey playing in the city. At that time TJ Slovan National Board came with the solution to run hockey club as their main field of activities. The hockey club was then handed in to chairman JUDr. Oldřich Rejna, who stayed in this position for another 23 years. In 1966 the team won TJ Slovan qualification to get to the second league, in which they played until 1972. After the season 1971/72 there was a change in the organisational structure of the whole competition. The First National League was created. So the club had to undertake very demanding hockey qualification to be admitted to the First National Hockey League. The team was very successful and reached 2nd place out of 10, only one point after Slezan Opava. Since then the team used to be on the top positions of the whole competition. In season 1979/80 the team won by 7 points in the A team of First National Hockey League but in qualification to get to Extra League the team lost with TJ Gottwaldov. In the following season Slovan won in its group again but didn’t reach any further when in the final got into the 3rd place out of 10 (2nd Zetor, 1st Ingstav Brno).
Since the season 1986/87 hockey in Ústí started to get into a crisis. In that year Slovan managed to survive when the team ended up on the one but last place, however the following year it went down to 2nd league. In the season 1988/89 the team won by 16 points in its group and nobody doubted about the return to the 1st league. However, Slovan didn’t manage to take its chance and stayed in the 2nd league. Only in 1993 the club returned to the 1st league.
The season 1993/94 has been the most successful one in club's history. Slovan reached 5th place and then in quarter-final of play off the team eliminated Opava with the score 3:1 in matches and only in semi-final Slovan was stopped by HC Vsetín which with mastery got into the Extraliga.
After the season 1997/98 the club was forced to sell the competition thanks to big financial problems to KLH Chomutov and in the following year the club just managed to stay in its group and not to fall to regional championship.
Modern history – HC Slovan Ústečtí Lvi
It took 10 years for the hockey players from HC Slovan to get from the bottom and the worst hockey team among the top hockey players. In 1997 economically exhausted club sold the rights for the 1st league to KLH Chomutov. And in the following season the club ended up even on 12th place in 2nd league. Since then the club has been improving and even got to Extra League in season 2007/8, albeit for one year, being relegated back to the second division at the end of the season.
- Official website (Czech)