Historical Oddities: Bohemia National Ice Hockey Team

During the early 20th century, the constituent countries from Austria-Hungary often competed as separate units. In the Olympics, there were teams representing Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary from the beginning of the games in 1896 up until the dissolution of the empire after World War I. Besides the Olympics, many other early international sports competitions also featured these as separate nations. One of the most prominent examples of this is the Bohemia national ice hockey team, which competed at an international level from 1909 to 1914.

The Bohemian ice hockey team’s first games were as a participant in the Chamonix Cup, held in Chamonix, France in early 1909. The cup was held during the second congress of the International Ice Hockey Federation, which codified the rules and procedures of national level ice hockey and established an annual European championship. Bohemia lost all four games they played in the Chamonix Cup. The team lost its inaugural match against France 8-1, and then lost 8-2 to Switzerland, 11-0 to England, and 4-1 to Belgium. The 11 goal loss to England would be the largest defeat suffered by the Bohemia team in their five year history. The next year, the team intended to compete in the first official European ice hockey championship in Switzerland but withdrew due to a lack of training for the event. However, they did participate in the next for European championships.

The 1911 championship was held in Berlin with Bohemia, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland participating. The Bohemian team won all three of their matches and handily won the tournament. The 1911 European championship also had the biggest win for the Bohemian team, defeating the Switzerland national team with a score of 13-0. In the next year’s European championship in Prague, Bohemia faced Germany and Austria. Bohemia defeated Austria 5-0 and drew Germany 2-2, putting them tied with Germany who also beat Austria. However, the tournament was annulled, as the tournament was held in February of 1912 and Austria only joined the International Ice Hockey Federation in March of that year.

Bohemia achieved second place in the 1913 European championship in Munich. Bohemia drew Belgium 4-4, and defeated both the teams from Germany and Austria. Both Belgium and Bohemia ended up with 5 points apiece at the end of the tournament from two wins and one draw. However, Belgium’s 13-1 defeat of Austria gave them the lead in goal difference and Belgium won the tournament. The next year, Belgium suffered defeat to Germany early in the year in the team’s only friendly match. The 1914 European championship was held in Berlin, and once again was contracted to only three teams. Bohemia defeated Belgium and Germany to win its third European title.

The start of World War I in August of 1914 put a hold on any future tournaments, and after the collapse of Austria-Hungary the Bohemian national team was disbanded. According to IIHF rules, the Bohemia national team was succeeded by the Czechoslovak national ice hockey team formed in 1920, and after 1993 by the Czech Republic national team.

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One Response to Historical Oddities: Bohemia National Ice Hockey Team

  1. Audrey Wilcox says:

    Now we know the rest of the story…. Bohemian rhapsody!

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