One pivotal day, Veronika Hůlková, while looking for ice hockey drills on YouTube, stumbled across the game of ringette. She was immediately intrigued. That moment sparked an interest that eventually fuelled the start of ringette in the Czech Republic.
We interviewed Veronika at the World Ringette Championships in Mississauga, Ontario in November 2017 and were inspired by her passion, tenacity, and resourcefulness. This is her story and our key takeaways.
Always eager to try new things, Veronika discovered her love of the ice through ice hockey at the age of 22. As a floorball player since a young age, Veronika was well equipped to transition from the floor to the ice.
What is Floorball? Floorball is a fast-paced, exciting, safe and low-cost type of indoor hockey. At first glance, it resembles floor hockey or ball hockey but is played with specialized sticks and rules that promote safety and skill. Floorball Canada and Hockey Canada highly recommend floorball for off-ice training for hockey players. Get a crash course on floorball here.
Veronika eventually went on to play goalie on several Czech Republic hockey teams – mixed and women’s leagues – both at an elite and recreational level.
Our takeaway: Keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to try new sports. You never know how one sport can feed a love for another.
The launch of ringette in the Czech Republic
When Veronika chanced upon ringette three years ago, it was love at first sight. Tapping into the power of YouTube, Veronika learned about ringette and taught herself how to play. Veronika is a trailblazer and community builder. She not only introduced the Czech Republic to ringette but also pioneered the creation of an elite national team and a recreational league in 2014.
There are only a few rinks in Prague, making it difficult to secure ice time to practice and play. Despite this, the ringette league has grown to 80 players over the last three years. The recreational league is made up of a combination of men and women with players ranging from 7 to 18 years old. Players are recruited through the internet and school meetings.
Veronika is president Czech Republic Ringette Association and is the national team goalie. The team typically plays in the Czech Republic, Stockholm, Sweden, and Finland and brought home the bronze in the 2017 World Ringette Championships in Mississauga this past November.
Our takeaway: Trying new things can be nerve-racking, whether that’s trying a new sport or starting a league. “Try-it” programs or even YouTube videos from reputable experts that are geared to beginners, can give you the confidence you need to grow in any sport. Is there a sport you love but no league in your community? Anyone can start a league of their own – all it takes is time, passion and commitment.