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Today the Czech Open is a traditional and well recognized international floorball tournament. Prague welcomes over 200 teams from 20 countries in August year by year. It have all started in hot summer 1992. Then a handful of floorball enthusiasts, who initiated the movement in Tartan Střešovice, decided to travel to Budapest to participate in the Hungarian Open. It was a “little Swedish championships” played in Budapest but with no local teams. We have decided to organize a similar event in Prague yet on a higher level. This way we wanted to help the development of floorball in our country. We were coming home full of determination and our old Karosa coach was full of the first floorball rink borrowed from the Swedish tournament organizers. How it all continued?
The Czech Republic was not even playing a regular league in that time, but 43 teams from Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Russia and Czech Republic were coming to Prague to the first Czech Open. Czech teams had to fight for participation in a separate qualifyier. In man’s competition these brave local initiators were competing: Tatran FORZA Střešovice, 1. SC Ostrava, Tatran EXCALIBUR, SC Mentos, Sokol Jaroměř, IBK Praha, FBC Mušle and North Stars Ostrava. In women’s competition these teams came into the tournament history: Tatran EXCALIBUR, USK Praha and ice-hockey players of HC Beroun. Swedish teams won the first historical titles – IKSU in men and Kristineberg AIS in women category. The total cost of the tournament was 75.000 Czech Crowns (3000 EUR).
The tournament party took place in at that time iconic strip club Goldex City Night in Zličín. In the men’s final Sjostad IF won over Pixbo, Magnus Augustsson was declared the best match player. Women team Tatran Střešovice won historical first bronze medal on international scene after defeating IBF Backadalen in the bronze medal match. The referees from Switzerland took part for the first time; the referee money was EUR 2 per game.
Teams from 11 countries were coming. For the first time the teams from Estonia and Liechtenstein appeared on the floorball scene. The male Elite was opened, it had 32 participants. The winner was the legendary Fornudden. Some of their players however nearly missed the final match, after being temporarily jailed in a local police station after misusing a stolen credit card.
Pixbo IBK won the tournament for the first time, led by Robert Boden- the best player of the competition. The number of participating teams climbed over a hundred. Men team 1. SC SSK Vítkovice gained first Czech medal, when they finished on the second place. HC Rychenberg Winterthur won the ladies category for the second time in a row. Ukraine celebrated their premiere in Prague.
Czech Floorball Union and the Czech Open celebrated their fifth birthday. 130 teams were coming and the number of registered players reached over 2000. The Czech Republic celebrated its first gold medal – Tatran won in ladies. First time, floorball players from Great Britain and Austria were participating. Fornudden with legendary Mats Forslund wins the male Elite again.
In the year of the first World Championships on the Czech territory the Czech Open was going through a certain crisis. The number of participating teams drops down to 87. A specific evidence of the quality decline in elite category was, paradoxically, the first title for the Czech male team - FBC Ostrava led by Radek Sikora,the current Czech National Team coach Tomáš Trnavský and nowadays Warberg's Aleš Zálesný.
Czech Open returned to the growing trajectory. 139 teams from 16 countries arrived. For the first time we welcomed players from Belgium. During the tournament the European Cup qualification has been organized. Tournament party moved to club Lavka near the Charles Bridge. A Czech team wins the elite category for the second and also the last time until now. Tatran Střešovice celebrates the gold. It is the team around Jura Šádek, Láďa Fuchs, Petr Ďarmek and others from golden FORZA generation.
Tournament entered the second millennium with the slogan “Taste it!” and only a few people know that the ball on the tournament poster in famous Jarda Skokan’s photo-montage was tasted by Mick Jagger. In the elite men’s final eager Fins were celebrating for the first time in history. It was also the first time that the Helsinki IF “tasted” the prize-money. In the jersey of HIFK a young Juha Kivilehto proves his skills while Tomáš Kafka from Tatran was elected the best goalkeeper of the tournament. By the paradox of fate, but especially due to a fair deal of hard floorball work they met together in the All Stars team of World Championship in Finland ten years later...
We enter the decade of betting companies. Betting company Tipsport became the general partner of the tournament. We welcome the three-time Swedish champion in a row – team Haninge IB. Even a hat-trick of their biggest star Jonathan Kronstrand wasn’t enough in the final against Pixbo which won in Prague for the second time. This time without Magnuss Augustsson, who have just been married in Sweden. The scoring list was dominated by trio Jihde, Lundgren, Hellgard. Young man named Johan von der Pahlen scored three goals for Hanninge. Floorball Harlem Globetrotters – Finnsta IBK appears in Prague for the first time with a brave pre-tournament resolution: “We don’t take anything but victory!”. They later became a real legend and symbol of the Czech Open and local fans love them.
Czech Open celebrates the tenth birthday. Prague suffered catastrophic floods, the traditional river cruise had to be canceled and also the Czech Open party club Lávka was flooded just one day after the tournament. For Finnsta the “silver period” started. The crew around Esa Jussila and Olli Oilinki have always advanced to the semifinal in next 4 years, but never reached the gold medal in Prague. Henrik Qvist was selected the best player of the tournament. Radim Cepek is about to leave Tatran for Switzerland and during the Czech Open he plays together with Engel brothers in Swiss Selection
“All you need is floorball” – the Beatles classic became the anthem of this year despite the copyright. Finally we could cheer: “Go Canada Go!” Canada completed the list of record-breaking 20 countries. World class Balrog Oilers is represented in both the male and also the female category. In women category, the three time European Cup Champions leaved Prague with gold medal. Recently elected Prague City Mayor Mr. Pavel Bém jumped into the VIP match. For the first time in history, the Czech champion Tatran Střešovice didn’t participate in the elite category. They had to struggle in the European Cup qualification.
The number of participating teams passed over 200. The final moved to T-Mobile Arena in Holešovice, where the victory of Balrog Oilers was watched by incredible 6538 spectators. For the first time the contest in floorball freestyle was held. Finnsta disgraced Czech vice-champion FBC Pepino Ostrava in bronze medal match dispite the fact that they appeared with just 6 people after a very hard night. The Czech U19 National Team with Karel Ťopek and Martin Zozulák participates in junior category to end up in quarterfinal. In July we start with the Prague Games – the youth analogy of the Czech Open. 88 teams participates – the double than the first year of the Czech Open.
Unlucky thirteen. In the 13th year we passed through the most critical moment in our history. Due to adverse climatic circumstances, the humidity in T-Mobile Arena condensed on the floor. The result of three matches in the B category had to be determined by penalty shoots, two elite men quarterfinals were quickly moved to small inflated hall in Radlice. After all, the tournament ended successfully. IBK Dalen celebrated in the final after defeating the first Swiss finalist and at that time governing European champion SV Wiler Ersingen. We opened female elite category. The General partner of the tournament – betting company Fortuna – listed floorball bets for the first time in the Czech Republic. We welcomed the selection of USA and Canada and Mathias Hofbauer was the best scorer.
Big Floorball Bang. The major bang was the incredible media coverage of this year. Czech television broadcasts unbelievable 20 hours of live screenings. Year 2006 was the last year for legendary Finnsta. Next year the controversial IFF resolution prevented them from participation and disappointed thousands of their Czech fans. Pixbo defeated Oilers from Espoo led by double World Champion coach Petteri Nykky in the final and celebrated for the fifth time. Tatran’s ladies converted to Děkanka and under the working name Triggers won in the female elite. Diana Brennerová bet down Swiss Zug by her hat-trick in the final match. Florbal.cz presented the first floorball yearbook. In November, the chronicle of Prague Masters, first real international event for floorball veterans, started to be written.
Czech open celebrated its 15th birthday and got really global dimension. Teams from three continents participated, antipodes from Australia came for the first time and American continent was represented by North American All Stars. Finland triumphed for the second time in history, this time it was SSV with golden generation including Tero Tiitu, Santu Manner, Juha Kivilehto, Mikael Jarvi, Lauri Kappanen and Henri Toivoniemi. At that time nobody knew that next year in Prague this gang would move Sweden from the throne of the World Champions and would repeat it even in Helsinky 2010. Another international party of Ketil Kronberg, Hofbauer brothers, Peder Bodén and Marc Dysli met together in IBK Dalen but they were not good enough to compete SSV. Regarding to Czech teams, Chodov and Tatran came the farthest – just to the quarterfinal. Czech TV increased the number of live broadcasts to 16 and tournament party found its resort in Žluté Lázně.
The traditional tournament date collided with the Olympic Games in Beijing, so this time we started two weeks earlier. It was a year of the second World Championship in the Czech Republic and the main motive of the tournament for the Czech players was the struggle for National Team nomination. A record number of Czech compatriots came from Switzerland to present themselves to the national team coach Skružný. A record 2,5 million of Czech crowns was spent on the floorball bets this time. But nobody correctly tipped the winner – Sirius playing the second highest division in Sweden at that time. The rate on Sirius to win was 20:1. The second, unlucky finalist is the Czech Tatran. Who despite of the come back of Johan Von der Pahlen will not manage even though Sirius scores just once... After 15 years Petr Černý hands over the chief referee position over to Honza Jirovský. The best goal scorer of the tournament is Swiss man Simon Stucki. The same Stucki will kill the Czech bronze hopes in the extra time of the World Championships in Prague four months later.
We had XXL Floorball . The general partner of the tournament is the betting company Chance. 244 teams from 16 counties arrived to Prague. The main issue was the infarct end of the men’s final between Pixbo and Dalen, which was resolved by Peder Bodén’s goal in last second. The goal followed a mistake of floorball icon – Henrik Qvist. Swedish referees Urban Henrixon and Roland Carlsson kept the audience in suspension for long minutes, before they finally submitted the winning goal for Dalen. Tatran, despite a good performance against Pixbo in semifinal, finished just with a bronze.
“Hot Floorball Summer” attracted exactly the same number of teams as last year – 244 and it was for the first time in history exceeded by its youth version – the Prague Games, where 262 teams were performing in July. After one year break the tournament was covered by the Czech TV again and on top of that thanks to the premiere Eurosport broadcasting the Czech Open enters the housholds in 50 other countries. FORZA Střešovice returned on top after one decade. Team led by Jura Šádek, Petr Ďarmek, Jirka Jandáček, Mirek Hanzlík and Martin Zelenka achieved to win in the men non-elite category. Pixbo turned the match in dramatic elite final against Sirius from 1:5 up to 10:9 after penalty shots. The Foxes won for the sixth time, they became the most successful team in history and in prize-money they took totally over one million Czech crowns so far.
The Prague floorball space welcomed a record of 252 teams in 2011! For the first time an Icelandic team visited the Czech Open. Final battles moved to smaller arena at Podvinný Mlýn, where the outdoor fan zone with large screen projection was built up to support the spectators capacity. Dalen in the final battle defeated Vítkovice, who managed to struggle into the final after 12 long years. The ex-Vítkovice forward Milan Tomašík played against his “old friends” in Dalen’s jersey. Correcting mission of AIK Stockholm ended by failure again. White ballet said goodbye to the tournament as in 2005 already before the quarter-final. Pixbo also dropped out unusually early – already in the quarterfinal. However, the Red Foxes at least celebrated in female elite and finished the five-years domination of Herbadent. This year it was also the comeback of the Finnsta souls – Esa Jussila and Oli Oilinki, who came along with Wiler. We have completed a wide reconstruction of the tournament website and burst into the Facebook. Within six months we have almost 1 500 virtual friends…
Bohemian Floorball Rhapsody sounded. 20th year of the tournament is celebrated by 258 teams from 18 countries. First time the representatives from Belarus arrived at the Czech Open. The jubilee edition is decorated by the highest quality teams of male elite. Nine semifinalists of home leagues from top 4 countries starts at the tournament! Symbolically, Pixbo celebrated for the seventh time. They didn’t give a chance to Wiler, which advanced to the final after long seven years. The most successful home participants (Tatran and Vítkovice) finished already in the quarterfinal. Women team Herbadent returned to the throne after one year break. After long nineteen years we are leaving old Sparta hall in Korunovační street. Will we come back? We are organizing a ceremonial reception in the residence of the Mayor of Prague, where we appreciated two dozens of the most important personalities of the previous history of the Czech Open. We are also remembering the 20 years of the tournament by an exhibition at Podvinný Mlýn hall.
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