A feverish national fixation, ice hockey becomes a full-blown obsession during the World Championships (held every year in late spring) and the Winter Olympics.
The Czech national hockey league, Extraliga, is one of the most competitive in the world, and the best players regularly move on to the North American National Hockey League. Slavia Praha and Sparta are the two best teams, both in Prague. Hockey season runs from September to March. Tickets cost between 130 Kč and 550 Kč and are reasonably easy to get.
HC Slavia Praha. Although a relative giant in the Czech Republic, HC Slavia Praha usually finds itself chasing the leaders of the pack in international matches. O2 Arena, Ocelářská 460/2, Vysočany, Prague, Praha. 266–771–000. www.hc-slavia.cz. Line B: Českomoravská.
HC Sparta Praha. HC Sparta Praha was the national champion at this writing, and is routinely regarded as the premier team in an excellent local league—until players are lured across the Atlantic. Come to spot the next Jágr or Hašek. Tipsport Arena, Za Elektrárnou 419, Holešovice, Prague, Praha. 266–727–443. www.hcsparta.cz. Line C: Nádraží Holešovice.