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The first sign of trouble

Any domestic football match will always see the local riot Police out in force doing their best to look like Darth Vader or some seedier branch of the military. The same can’t really be said for Ice Hockey. Whilst there will always be a Police presence it is never on the same scale as that put out for the average football game – at least here in Prague.

We live close enough to the local hockey stadium (that of HC Slavia Prague) to make it our business to know who is playing here and when. If the game is during the week the match will start at 19:00 so the way home will be bunged up with fans making their way to the magnificent stadium that is The Arena. You can tell how well supported the visiting team is by the number of riot Police vans that are parked and ready just outside the stadium. Prague Police seem to have far too many active riot units available than is healthy for any law abiding resident to understand the reasoning why but not to question simply because these guys are big, dressed like urban warriors and related to Darth Vader when fully vested.

Today’s game warranted an entire “platoon” of these gents. Last game barely warranted a mini-van, and this was only there because of a crash in the car park. So the visible indication of potential trouble can be measured in units – riot Police units. This all might sound very tame – or normal – for most fans of sports in this country, but for a rugby fan who is used to drinking before, during and after the game with the opposing fans, this is all very new. Especially considering I never knew Ice Hockey would need he slightest hint of riot Police anywhere near the stadium. I am sorely mistaken.

Slavia lost. The Police were busy. Mainly because the home fans are fed up with their team. Who can blame them.

[HC Slavia Prague – in Czech]

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