Czech national ice hockey team drops ‘Czech Republic’ from uniforms

The change is in line with current international trends, according to the national team’s spokesman.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 04.11.2021 11:57:00 (updated on 06.11.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech national ice hockey team is making a fundamental change to their uniforms. Instead of “Czech Republic” in English, the jerseys will now sport “Česko,” the name for the country in the Czech language.

Images of the new uniforms have been posted on Twitter by the national team’s management. There are several variations, all using the Czech national colors. The main body is red and white, and details are in blue. The central image is the head of a lion facing left and wearing a gold crown. The lion is one of the Czech national symbols.

The word “Česko” appears in blue letters on jerseys with a white background and in white letters on jerseys with a red background.

The new jerseys will be used by Czech national teams at world championships, tournaments, and friendly matches. The new uniforms, however, won’t be seen in the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where the jerseys will simply have the Czech coat of arms.

Zdeněk Zikmund, the spokesman for the Czech hockey team, explained the rationale behind the change. “Leaving aside the fact that it is certainly no shame to show off one's mother tongue on national team jerseys, there are two basic reasons why a change is taking place,” Zikmund said.

“First, we are adapting to the international trend and the approach that is generally applied throughout the international sports environment; it’s not just ice hockey,” he said.

“The second reason is recommendations we have received from experts and relevant institutions, which clearly recommend using the multi-word political name exclusively for diplomatic relations and legal documents, while for all other occasions – including sports – they recommend the one-word name,” he added.

What do you think should be on Czech national team uniforms?

Czech Republic 20 %
Česko 47 %
Czechia 30 %
Just the coat of arms with no words 3 %
402 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

Until the Czech team made the change, there were only three out of 82 International Ice Hockey Federation member states that used a multi-word legal format to state the name for their country. The other two are the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United Arab Emirates, according to Zikmund.

“Otherwise, all other countries – with a few exceptions – choose a one-word name. And for those exceptions with a two-word name, it is without using the country’s legal format,” Zikmund said.

This means the exceptions don’t use words like republic, federal republic, commonwealth, or kingdom. The team from the United Kingdom, for example, uses Great Britain on their jerseys. The United States of America goes by the letters USA. South Korea, formally known as the Republic of Korea, simply goes by Korea.

The uniforms are already in use. They were first used by the Czech under-17 team in a match against Russia, and next week by the women's national team in the Olympic qualification in Chomutov and the men's A-team at the Karjala Cup in Finland.

There has been an ongoing debate over what to call the Czech Republic in English, with some people favoring Czechia instead of the longer two-word name. The name Bohemia has also been suggested. Changing the hockey uniforms to using “Česko” neatly avoids taking sides in that issue.  

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