The Die-hards

True fans passionate about the game. Season ticket holders who attend their beloved hockey team’s matches no matter how well or badly they are doing. The same applies to their kids, who were given a season ticket as a gift for their sixth birthday, along with an album so they can collect stickers of ice-hockey players together. They can explain games to their significant other down to the last detail, despite all efforts to turn the conversation to other unrelated subjects. If at all possible, they would rather be at the championship in person than watch it on television. They prepare for the trip well in advance and find it all more exciting than a family holiday. They are there for their team in good times and bad. When they get home, they’ll be welcoming their team on a square in the capital, clutching a national flag. Catching pucks as they fly into the crowd has cost them three teeth, but they can’t help themselves – the desire for hockey trophies is stronger than they are. They have already flooded the downstairs flat twice in their attempts to turn their living room into an ice rink.

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Mr Smarty Pants

Everything going on during the game is immediately clear to them and they would do everything better: the national coach is an amateur who should have hung up his hat years ago. Every second of the game would unfold better if only the players could read the mind of Mr Smarty Pants. You see, these are the type of fans who know best what the line-up should be, what tactics to deploy during a power play, what to do in short-handed play, and who should be called up to the team from the NHL. They blame the coach for ineffective line changes and poor decision-making when it comes to choosing players for a shootout. Every time “their” team makes a mistake, you can see these fans’ exaggerated gestures as they wring their hands and shake their head. If they’re watching the game in a pub, they’ll be hurling abuse at the TV. If they’re at the stadium, from the second third to the end they’ll make sure that three rows all around can hear their running commentary. Just recently they told their doctor about a big black dog, a reincarnation of the legendary USSR coach Viktor Tikhonov, who comes to them every midnight to advise them on hockey tactics, the line-up and the attacking line.

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The Exhibitionists

Finally, the time has come! They follow their annual tradition of digging through all the costumes, props and colours stashed in their wardrobe. What will grab the TV cameras’ attention most this year? They never underestimate the need to prepare and they pick out a different outfit for each day. Living by the motto “More is better!”, they long ago lost all sense of self-consciousness, and if they hadn’t been escorted out to the car park last time, they’d readily go to the stadium in their birthday suit again. What with all the faffing, it takes them twice as long to leave the hotel room as it does to their significant other, but the end result is worth it. They gladly pose for photos with other fans who mistake them for an official mascot. For exhibitionists, seeing their face live on the large screen is one of the most climactic moments of the championship. Every morning, they check their inbox in the hope that they have finally been chosen as the next championship’s fluffy mascot.

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The Long-suffering Partners

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They’re not really into ice-hockey, but their partner is a die-hard they love to death, so once a year they make the sacrifice and go to the championship instead of on that nice seaside holiday. When mocked at work, they can retort by asking just who’s divorced here. Ahead of the championship, they wash their jersey in lovely camomile softener. Over the years, they have worked out that there are three thirds, after each of which the teams switch ends, but when it comes to emotions at the stadium they follow their partner’s lead, aware that the wrong reaction when the puck hits the back of someone-or-other’s net could cause a marital crisis. In their nightmares, they slash away at goal nets with a machete while being attacked on all sides by giant helmeted, saucer-eyed spiders whose fat bodies are black meaty pucks.

The Beer Lovers

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No matter what the circumstances, they’re always clutching a drink. They usually attend the championship with a group of two to ten mates, depending on how many people they can persuade at their local sports bar that this is going to be “the party of the year”. Their sense of drama surrounding the match is heightened not by the situation on the rink, but by the number of drinks they have necked. Even though the game has their full attention, they instinctively keep an eye on their cup, making sure that it’s half full rather than half empty and buying another top-up drink as and when the situation requires. Sure, they may miss the deciding goal while they’re in the queue, but that’s life. When a goal is scored and they happen to be in the stands, they’re so overwhelmed with emotion they usually pour beer over themselves and the fans around them. They’re never quite sure how the evening ends, but the next day there are always photos all over the internet showing them getting friendly with cheerleaders, rolling on the floor in the locker room or pouring champagne over the Queen in the skybox.

The Gold Diggers

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They have no idea what’s happening on the rink because as far as they’re concerned ice belongs in a Cuba Libre. On the other hand, they know a lot about the players – how much they earn, who they’re dating, and who they’ve just dumped, making them single and eligible. Gold diggers have a phone full of photos of the villa – with pool – where they were last on holiday with their sweetheart. They bombard their favourites with friend requests, stalk everyone and do not let something like a ban from all of the national ice-hockey teams’ official websites put them off. On their social media account, they rate the players’ current WAGs. During breaks in the game, they imagine what it would be like to stand alongside those women, but at home they have effigies of them, sticking pins into them and roasting them over candles.

Blue-line

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With ice-hockey a national sport in the Czech Republic, ŠKODA’s 26-year sponsorship of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship is entirely logical. “Ice-hockey is an exciting game that commands the attention of people all over the world. What’s more, as a sport it is dynamic, down-to-earth, and fair – these are the same attributes underpinning ŠKODA’s corporate culture and visions,” explains Bernhard Maier, Chairman of the ŠKODA Board of Directors. Find out more about ŠKODA's passion for ice-hockey in older article here.

Red-line

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The event all ice-hockey fans have been waiting for has arrived! National teams from sixteen countries worldwide are converging on Denmark to compete, first in groups and then the play-offs. You can study the tournament schedule and download it in the attached list of fixtures:

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