|Sparta in action against Djurgårdens IF in 2010 European Trophy|
competition. They will renew acquaintances in Stockholm on
August 13, 2011. Photo: bart70.rajce.idnes.cz.
The 24 teams have been divided into four divisions of six, with Czech teams in three of the four groups. Sparta and Slavia Praha will play in the North Division, Bílí Tygři Liberec, Eaton Pardubice, and Kometa Brno in the South, and Mountfield České Budějovice and Plzeň 1929 will compete in the East.
Having Sparta and Slavia in the same group is convenient for teams travelling from other countries, who can play both teams on back-to-back nights. It also means that Prague fans will be treated to an August edition of their derby. The two teams will square off at Zimní stadion Eden in Prague's Vršovice district on August 20. Eden is where Slavia played its home games before O2 Arena opened in 2004. The club's training facilities and youth teams are still based there.
"When we've played summer pre-season games in the past, such as the Tipsport Cup, they attracted about 800 spectators. I think that a foreign team will attract even more," said Slavia general manager and coach, Vladimír Růžička, about what kind of crowds might be expected at Eden, which can accommodate around 3,000 spectators. "I'm hopeful that the games will be of good quality, even when they're played before the season."
Teams generally look at the tournament as a good way to get players into competitive games before the start of their domestic leagues. "In past summers, we had the Tipsport Cup, which won't take place this year," Kometa Brno coach Zdeněk Venera told hokej.cz's Jan Vacek. "We welcome the chance to play in this tournament to get a good look at our team in pre-season games against strong teams."
Each team will play the other five teams in its group, plus one additional game against a team from each of the other three groups for a total of eight. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the playoff round, which will be a three-round, single-knockout event played in Salzburg and Vienna, Austria, December 16 to 18.
Below is the schedule of games involving Czech teams. Home teams are listed first. For a complete tournament schedule, visit: