Ice hockey is favourite sport in the Czech Republic, and if you’re travelling to Prague then there are three teams that are worth looking into: HC Sparta Praha, HC Slavia Praha, and HC Kobra Praha. Naturally, the ‘healthy’ rivalry between Sparta and Slavia evident in football also extends to the ice rink, with the former more successful with eight national championships, compared to Slavia’s two. Numerous factors make ice hockey an excellent sport to watch live, including: the fast nature of the game, being very close to the action, passionate supporters tirelessly encouraging their teams to victory, and a high probability of seeing at least a few goals. Whilst the Prague ice hockey derby is an amazing experience, you’ll have to wait until Slavia return to the Extraliga following their surprise relegation at the end of the 2015-2014 season. The final team, HC Kobra Praha, play in the Bohemian division of Liga 2. The regular season runs from September to February/March, which is immediately followed by the play-offs. Below is a brief overview of the ice hockey teams and arenas within Prague, and the transport options for getting there (see Google map). More information can be found on the official hockey website.
Originally from the Holešovice district, HC Sparta Praha used to play their games at the Tipsport Arena, although they moved to the O2 Arena in the Libeň district at the start of the 2015-16 season. Sparta are the only Prague based team currently playing in the Tipsport Extraliga; a league in which they have performed relatively consistently over the years, regularly reaching the play-offs. It’s advisable to book tickets in advance via the ticket portal website, although you should be able to buy tickets at the arena on the day unless it’s a play-off. Tickets for regular league games cost between 100 and 260 Kč depending on the category and date of purchase. Play-off games are more expensive at between 220 and 360 Kč. The O2 Arena opened in 2004 and is the largest multi-functional hall in the Czech Republic, and has capacity for approximately 18,000 spectators. It has excellent transport connections; Českomoravská metro station (Line B) handles the most passengers reaching this venue, although you can also take the train to Praha-Libeň, trams #8 and #25 to Ocelářská, or #16 to Divadlo Gong. There are numerous buses that serve the areas immediately north and south of Libeň. The accessibility of the O2 Arena certainly increases your options for eating and drinking elsewhere in the city, although there are numerous places to eat and drink on Sokolovská if you wish to be near the O2.
Prague’s second biggest hockey club are HC Slavia Praha, and like the football team, are also located in the Vršovice district. The club has struggled during the last few years having ended their lease to play at the O2 Arena, and suffering relegation to the WSM Liga in 2015. Their current home is the Zimní Stadion Eden, which has a capacity of 5,138, although crowds of around two thousand are typical. Tickets can be purchased at the stadium on matchday costing 80 or 120 Kč for the regular season and play-off games. Despite their relegation, it’s still worthwhile attending a game as its excellent value for money, and a reasonable standard of hockey in a very competitive league. Travel and pre-match options are similar as to the Eden Arena used for football, although the Kubánské náměstí tram stop is nearer. For some great beer and quick bite to eat try Restaurace nad Ledem next to the arena.
There is a final Prague based Ice Hockey team is HC Kobra Praha who play in the western division of the third tier (Liga 2). They’re located in the Braník district on the outskirts of the city; take bus #196 or #197 to Vrbova. Admission is probably around 50 Kč.