Detroit Red Wings
Clear Bag Policy Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App

  • RSS

Hossa familiar with outdoor hockey

Friday, 12.12.2008 / 1:38 PM ET / Features
By Dan Rosen  - Senior Writer
Share with your Friends

Hossa familiar with outdoor hockey
Marian Hossa was part of the construction crew, so his ice time was free.

Communists may have ruled Czechoslovakia in the 1980s, but around Hossa's apartment complex in the town of Stara Lubovna the pre-teens who put up the boards and flooded the asphalt with fresh water every night were in charge of the pick-up games.

"We helped put the boards together in the winter and whoever helped could skate," Hossa told "That was the deal. You weren't allowed to sit home and just jump on the ice because they wouldn't let you. You had to help out. Put up the ice and clean it off, then you could skate."

The NHL doesn't have the same rules for its Winter Classic.

Hossa and the rest of his Red Wings teammates won't be part of the construction crew that builds the ice rink created over Wrigley Field's hallowed turf for the Winter Classic on Jan. 1. But when the Slovakian star takes his first strides on the historic sheet he expects memories of skating on the rudimentary ice he helped create over the asphalt in front of his apartment complex to come flooding back.

"It's hard to say if that's where I learned the game, but that's where the passion started," Hossa said of his childhood rink. "That's where I knew I just wanted to play hockey and one day be a hockey player. I had fun playing with my friends and I loved to skate. I loved having the puck on my stick. It was something I always wanted to do."

Hossa said he can't remember the last time he skated outdoors, but he'll never forget the little details of how that rink in front of his apartment complex was built and how those games were played when he was barely 10-years-old.

"I used to look outside the window and if guys were skating there I would grab skates and go outside and skate basically all day or at least until my parents called me in for dinner," Hossa said. "When it was winter we sprayed the asphalt with water and were skating there. There were six guys and it was good ice."

Hossa said the asphalt on the playground was more suited for tennis or soccer, but the kids built boards around it and flooded the inside with water to make ice that was thick enough.

The times forced the kids to be conservative with the hose.

"Obviously everything back then was during the Communist regime so we had to be smart with the water, so we couldn't put too much on it," Hossa said. "We built the boards to make it a little smaller than a hockey rink and then put water inside of it."

The winters were cold enough so the ice would freeze, but you wouldn't risk frost bite skating around for hours.

"It wasn't too, too cold," Hossa said, "but cold enough to have good ice."

The games were more about skill and precision than physical play. Then again, that is the European style, right?

"No fights," Hossa said. "There was no contact. It was more of a skill game than a physical game. We were little kids."

When the ice got too choppy, the kids would use scrapers to clean it. The scrapers, Hossa said, were similar to what arena ice personnel use today during TV timeouts to clean the areas around the goal crease and in front of the bench.

"We cleaned it that way and threw it out behind the boards," Hossa said. "At the end of the day we sprayed new water on it so it could freeze over night."




1 MTL 23 17 4 2 83 50 36
2 NYR 22 16 4 2 66 42 34
3 WSH 21 15 5 1 66 47 31
4 OTT 22 12 5 5 70 61 29
5 PIT 21 13 8 0 48 49 26
6 BOS 21 12 8 1 68 61 25
7 NYI 22 11 8 3 62 53 25
8 DET 22 11 8 3 51 55 25
9 TBL 23 11 9 3 54 49 25
10 NJD 21 11 9 1 49 51 23
11 FLA 21 8 9 4 54 55 20
12 CAR 22 8 10 4 46 61 20
13 PHI 22 7 10 5 38 62 19
14 TOR 22 7 10 5 49 58 19
15 BUF 22 8 12 2 45 59 18
16 CBJ 23 9 14 0 57 72 18


H. Zetterberg 22 4 14 -2 18
D. Larkin 22 8 7 11 15
T. Tatar 22 7 8 -1 15
G. Nyquist 22 7 5 -1 12
J. Abdelkader 22 5 7 -4 12
T. Pulkkinen 21 6 5 2 11
M. Green 16 1 6 -7 7
N. Kronwall 22 0 7 -8 7
R. Sheahan 22 3 3 -6 6
J. Kindl 17 2 3 3 5
P. Mrazek 6 4 2 .931 2.21
J. Howard 5 4 1 .917 2.34 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
© NHL 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Advertise/SponsorshipsOlympia Entertainment | Code of Conduct | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Employment | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Site Map