The treasury that is Medvescak’s history holds memories that witness the visions of ice hockey enthusiasts. People and their visions were the foundations of the club and they still are today, the essence and the force leading the club forward. From the very beginnings in the 1960’s a love for sport was embedded in the club, a love that they wanted to bring closer to others. To show them the joy that is skating on a fresh ice sheet and controlling the movement of that piece of black rubber, the joy of the controlled chaos in which decisions are made in a split second and where mistakes are costly.
There are memories here from all eras: the open-air games, on Salata, the first artificial ice rink in Zagreb, about which participants still talk about with a glow in their eyes. Across the gold age of hockey in this part of the world which ended abruptly and all the way up to today, when we participate together in one of the most wonderful sports stories.
From the snowball fights on Salata, to seeing the strongest ice hockey league outside of North America, fans and enthusiasts of the club were always a part of it, just like a family, never abandoning the club through its ups and downs. There were plenty of both during this 54 year long journey…
Although the club worked with Austrians from the very start, its first international recognitions and greater appearance was achieved in the 1980’s thank to Gortan Zdenko Gradecki. Under the name Medvescak-Gortan it was the golden age of the club’s history. Semi-final of the European Cup two years in a row and numerous Yugoslavian national titles are listed as Medvescak’s achievements from that period. With the legendary Russian Kostryukov on the bench, the team was nearly unbeatable in this part of the world.
With turmoil in time and history, an era came to an end and ice hockey receded to two ice rinks during the summer and three during the winter in Zagreb. With them Medvescak, the club ended up getting more or less stable while playing in a league with Slovenians. But, the idea, the vision, that decisive motivation for success and change, never died out.
Enthusiasts and hockey fans who dreamed about ice hockey’s return, of the return of the club to its rightful place in the talk of the city, never rested. After long negotiations they managed to take Medveščak from the Slovenian league into the Austrian EBEL on May 15, 2009.
The great renaissance that ensued in the fashion of a proper film scenario. The club overachieved every expectation by entering the playoff semi-final in the first season, while the fans returned to the stands and became the heart of modern-day Medvescak. Everyone will forever hold a dear memory of the Arena Ice Fever - Pula MMXII, organized in a roman amphitheater. Photos that circled the globe, not only the hockey community, put Medveščak and Croatia on the front page.
But, the success didn’t end there, while our scenario kept rolling. Four years after joining the Austrian EBEL, KHL Medvescak joined the Continental Hockey League (KHL), the strongest hockey league in the world outside of North America in spectacular fashion. That 6th of September 2013. CSKA Moscow was sent home from the packed Ice hall in a resounding fashion with a 7:1 win for Medvescak.
Today, on its 54th birthday Medvescak competes in its third season in the KHL. Things that most of us deemed impossible, today are the club’s reality. A reality that we are writing together and we’re boldly stepping forward into the future, enriched by all the memories we created.
Because of that, let’s celebrate Medveščak’s birthday together and let’s write a new page in the club’s history. Come to the Den, to our home, on Tuesday, December 22 and be a part of the birthday celebration and the spectacular fight for the playoffs.
Because You are our strength!