|National teams|| Men's|
|National federation||Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine|
|IIHF since||May 6, 1992|
|Top league||Ukrainian Hockey Extra League|
|Current champion||HC Donbass|
Ukraine is a country in Central and Eastern Europe. Kiev is the capital and largest city. Belarus was a part of the Soviet Union until 1991.
|Lviv Championship||1910||1939||Local city competition|
|Ukrainian SSR Championship||1948||?||Soviet-era competition|
|Ukrainian Hockey Extra League||2015||-||Top-level national competition|
|Ukrainian Hockey Championship||1992||-||National championship|
|Professional Hockey League||2011||2013||Defunct national league|
|Ukrainian Ice Hockey First League||2001||2006||Defunct second-level league|
|Ukrainian Federation Cup||2008||2010||Defunct cup competition|
|Ukrainian Cup||2007||2007||Defunct cup competition|
|Ukrainian junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
History of hockey in Ukraine
The first hockey match played in Lviv (which was then situated within the Austro-Hungarian Empire), featured the "Lviv company riding on skates" (approximate translation from Ukrainian name: Львівському товариству їзди на ковзанах), which had been founded in 1860. In October 1904, it was decided to organize hockey competitions in Lviv.
The organization played a game (using bandy rules) against a fellow Lviv club, "Charny", on January 16, 1905. It was reported that a sizable audience was on hand to watch the match, which was played in -12 degree temperatures. The newspaper correspondent concluded his report by saying that he hoped that ice hockey would soon find supporters not only among boys, but among girls also, because a large group of young ladies were already proficient at skating.
In January 1909, the Lviv club "Лижнярського" conducted a hockey game using "international rules". In 1910, an article on Canadian hockey (hakivky) was published in the sports newspaper "Proceedings of Zaporozha" by the "Sokol" club, under the leadership of Professor John Boberskyi. A Championship was staged at the Stryi park ice rink in Lviv the same year. It was won by Charny.
Ukraina Lwów was established in 1911. The next year, the club, with the assistance of Roman Syzyka, created a hockey section - "CT Ukraine". In 1912 a brochure entitled "Rules for hakivky" (hockey) was issued in Lviv. Two teams from Kharkov (then a part of the Russian Empire) - Gelferikh and Feniks - played a series of exhibition ice hockey games against one another in 1912. Teams from Nikolaev and Kharkov later participated in the RSFSR (Russian) Championship in bandy in 1922.
After World War I and Lviv becoming part of Poland (it was known as Lwów in Polish), hockey activities did not resume until 1925. On January 25, Lechia and Czarni faced each other in a match, won by Lechia 2-1. As witnessed by the media, the level of play by the teams was extremely primitive. That December, a conference was attended by the Pogoń, Czarni, Lechia, Hasmonea Lwów, Sparta, and AZS clubs, at which the Lviv Regional Union of Hockey was created.
On December 20, 1925, the Lviv Championship was staged between the Pogon, Lechia, Czarni, Hasmonea, Sparta, AZS, and LTL clubs. The title was won by Pogoń Lwów, who went undefeated. In January 1926 the, newly-formed hockey union organized the first championship of the province, which was attended by 8 teams, divided into 2 groups. The first group included the teams: AZS, Lechia, Pogoń and Sparta. The second: Czarni, Dror, Hasmonea Lwów and LTL. The first group was won by Pogoń, who outscored their opponents 16:1. Czarni claimed the second sub-group. The final match for the championship on February 10, which was won 3-1 by Pogoń. It is worth noting that the team had only six players on their roster. The first champions of Lviv were: Vanchytskyy, Albert Mauer, Stvozhynskyy, Zimmer, Vacek and Waclaw Kuchar.
WTL Warszawa visited Lviv in 1926. They defeated a combination AZS/LTL club 8-1, LTL 2-0, and Pogon 1-0. In February the Dzennik Lviv newspaper organized a hockey tournament among the four best teams of the city. Pogoń was the winner, with LTL coming in second. The next city championship began on January 9, 1927, and featured only six teams: Pogoń, Czarni, Lechia, AZS, Hasmonea, and Dror. Dror later withdrew from the competition. Pogoń was a class above the other teams, winning every game and outscoring their opponents 55:1. Pogon defeated AZS 23:0 and the game between them and Czarni was interrupted when the score was 2:0 in favor of Pogon. It was eventually recorded as a 5:0 forfeit win for Pogon.
Pogon Lwow participated in the inaugural Polish National Championship as champions of the Lviv Championship. They finished third in the competition. Waclaw Kuchar, the best player in Lviv at the time, was named to the Polish National Team that participated in the 1927 European Championship. Pogon repeated as champions of Lviv in 1928 and finished fourth in the national championship.
The Dziennik newspaper continued to arrange an annual tournament among the best clubs in Lviv, which was frequently won by Pogon. In 1929, Pogon again won the Lviv Championship and finished as runners-up in the national championship. Kuchar was once again named to the Polish National Team, as was Albert Mauer. Some other players from Pogon Lwow to play for the national team in this era were Jan Hemmerling, Roman Sabinski, and Karol Weissberg. Without two top players, Pogon finished second in the anniversary tournament of the "Lechia Cup Regional Commercial Bank". Ukraina Lwow returned to action this year, and were defeated 2-0 by Hasmonea Lwów in their first game. They played in the Klass B of the Lviv Championship, competing in eight matches - winning four, losing three, and tying one. Pogon repeated as district champions in 1930 and finished second in the national championship.
In 1931, Czarni Lwów unseated Pogon as district champions, although they also advanced to the national championship, as did Lechia Lwów. Ukraina Lwow won the Klass B championship, ahead of Hasmonea and Lwowianka, and was promoted to Klass A for 1932. Ukraina was a tough out in the top division; they only lost 2-0 to Pogon in their first game and fell to them 2-1 in a match that clinched the title for Pogon (the championship was not completed this year).
Ukraina also traveled to face three teams from the Romanian city of Cernauti from January 30-February 1, 1932. Cernauti, today part of Ukraine and known as Chernivtsi, was a hotbed of Romanian hockey prior to World War II. The visitors defeated Dovbusch Cernauti 7-0, Maccabi Cernauti 2-0, and fell to the top local side, Dragos Voda Cernauti 1-0. Frequent matches were staged between Cernauti and Lviv clubs in the following years. On February 16, Lviv hosted a match between teams from Lviv and Krakow for the "Lviv newspaper prize". The hosts were surprisingly defeated, 2-0. Hockey also debuted in the city of Tarnopol this winter, with Kresy, Jehuda, AKS, and Podilla at the forefront.
In Stanyslaviv (nowadays Ivano-Frankivsk), hockey at the amateur level developed within the structure of local sports associations and clubs. Among them the most successful was the Polish club "Stshelets two or three times" (Strzelec-Raz Dwa Trzy). Lots of matches were played between teams from Stanyslaviv and Kolomiya, which had as many as nine teams at one point. In 1933 Kolomiya hosted an international hockey tournament, with the "Stshelets" club being among the participants.
In 1932, there were 55 teams competing throughout Galicia. 12 teams took part in the top A-class championship of the Lviv province. The B-class (43 clubs) was divided by zonal principles into six groups. Among the teams from Stanyslaviv were "Stshelets", "Hakoah", and "Revera" and from Kolomyia "49 Infantry Regiment" competed. Over the years the composition and number of teams changed. In 1934, "Stshelets" won the B-class by defeating "K. C. Khodoriv" (from the town of the same name) in the final game. The following year "49 Infantry Regiment" from Kolomiya claimed the title.
Pogon repeated as Lviv district champions in 1933 and wound up being declared co-champions of Poland along with Legia Warszawa. The teams played two matches, which both ended deadlocked after three overtime periods. They were played back-to-back and the second match only ended at 4:10 AM! In the "Puhar Lechii", Pogoń defeated LTL and AZS. However, with the start of the national championship and adverse weather conditions, the tournament was not completed. Following a visit from Czarni Lwow, hockey gained a foothold in Volhynia this year, and there was even a local championship arranged.
The resort town of Vorokhta hosted a tournament in late December 1933. In the first game, two teams from Stanyslaviv met, with "Stshelets" recording a 5-1 victory over "Second Gymnasium". The next day, "Pokonala" Kolomiya defeated Stanyslaviv by a landslide score of 9-1 (5-0, 1-1, 3-0). Kulchytsky of Kolomiya was lauded as the best player on the ice.
The 1933-34 season began with Pogon falling in the district championship in December. Czarni won the district title, losing only one point. Pogoń finished second, ahead of Lechia, Ukraina, AZS and Hasmonea. Pogon thus qualified for the play-in round to reach the national championship, where they lost both games to KS Cracovia. Czarni and Lechia both won their qualifying series, so Lviv had two representatives in the national championship, which was held in the city.
Lviv once again hosted the national championship in 1935. An outdoor rink was built on the site of the Citadel. A lot of money was spent on it, especially for the lighting and the installation of the stands. Lviv became the premier hockey center in Galicia, as the situation in all other cities remained unchanged.
Czarni repeated as district champions, followed by Lechia, Pogon, Ukraina, AZS, and Kresy Tarnopol. The club went on to become Polish national champions, defeating Lechia 4-0 in the final. In February 1935, the first hockey championship in Pokuttya was staged. It was contested by four purely Ukrainian teams: Sokol, Sokol-2, Dovbush and Dovbush 2. They represented one city - Kolomiya. Dovbush won the inaugural championship.
In 1936, Pogon built their own rink, which measured 62 x 31 m. The outdoor facility had electric lights, room for 1000 spectators, and dressing rooms adapted for use in winter. The winter was warm and very unfavorable for hockey. Due to poor conditions and the national team's participation in the 1936 Winter Olympics, the Lviv and national championships were not played. There were only four friendlies played during several days of frost in February. Warsaw and Lviv teams met on February 25, a match which ended in a 3-0 victory for Lviv.
Another mild winter impacted play in 1937. Pogon Lwow finished third in the district championship and lost in the qualification series for the national championship to KS Cracovia. Czarni, the district champions, finished fourth in the Polish Championship. They repeated as champions in 1938. KS Cracovia faced Ukraina Lwów in a qualification match for the national championship, winning 4-0. Ukraina did not appear for the return match.
1939 was the last season of play with Lwow as part of Poland. Czarni finished fifth in the national championship. After the Soviet invasion, many teams were dissolved or renamed. Some of the new clubs to emerge were "Dynamo", "Spartak", "Puffin", "Lokomotiv", "Harchovyk" and "Health". Hockey in Lviv would never again regain the popularity it enjoyed during the 1920s and 1930s.
The first ice hockey tournament in the Soviet Union was arranged in 1940. The participants were: HC Lviv, HC Chernivitsi, HC Drohobych and several teams from Latvia. In 1942, HC Ukraina, Lviv participated in tournament in Krynica with German, Polish, Slovak and Czech teams. In the final match HC Ukraina beat HC Rote Teufel from Germany 8:5.
In 1946, Spartak Uzghorod competed in games against Vodnik Arkhangelsk (a Russian team) at the Dynamo soccer stadium Kiev. The following year, the Uzghorod club was invited to join the Soviet Championship League for its inaugural season. Hockey in Uzghorod, which had been part of Czechoslovakia until the events of World War II, had been played since the mid-1930s. The first tournament in 1934-35 was won by LTC Uzghorod.
The Ukrainian SSR Championship was first contested in 1949. In 1963, Dynamo Kiev, which became Sokil Kiev in 1973, was founded. The club was the best Ukrainian team for many years, and first debuted in the Soviet League in 1966. Sokil finished in third place in the league in the 1984-85 season. Dynamo Kharkiv also played in the Soviet League in 1989 and 1990.
Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine was part of the Soviet Ice Hockey Federation. It became independent in 1992, and Ukraine joined the IIHF on May 6 of the same year.
The Ukrainian Hockey Championship was first played in the 1992-93 season. Sokil Kiev has won the national title 12 times. Since independence, Sokil has also participated in the International Hockey League, Eastern European Hockey League, and the Belarusian Extraliga. Other top clubs in the Ukrainian League during the 1990s and early 2000s included the 1994 champions, ShVSM Kyiv, HK ATEK Kiev (2007 winners), and HC Berkut-Kyiv (won three straight titles from 1999-2002).
The Professional Hockey League was established as the top-tier competition in Ukraine in 2011. The league was not a success financially, and after two seasons, the competition reverted back to its previous "Ukrainian Championship" format. In recent times, HC Donbass won three consecutive titles from 2010-2013, HC Kompanion-Naftogaz claimed the 2014 championship, and HK ATEK Kiev won the league in 2015.
Donbass entered a team in the second-tier Russian Supreme Hockey League in 2012 and played in the Kontinental Hockey League from 2012 to 2014. On the night of May 26, 2014, Donbass' Druzhba Arena was ransacked by pro-Russian militants of the Donetsk People's Republic as part of the ongoing wave of violence in Ukraine. The men looted the arena, stealing televisions, safety deposit boxes, equipment and a company car before destroying surveillance equipment – after which they set the arena on fire. The team did not compete in either the KHL or the Ukrainian Championship in 2014-15 as a result.
The Ukrainian Hockey Extra League was established as the new national league for the 2015-16 season. Eight teams participated in the competition, and HC Donbass, who returned to action this season, captured the championship.
The national team frequently participated in the Soviet Winter Spartakiad tournaments when the country was part of the Soviet Union. Their first game after independence was on April 13, 1992. Ukraine tied the Russian National B-Team 3-3 at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix. They participated in the C Pool Qualification tournament in 1992, and made their debut at the World Championships in 1993, playing in the C Pool.
Between 1993 and 1996, the Ukrainians won either silver or bronze at the C Pool tournament. They won the gold medal in 1997 to earn promotion to "B" Pool. Ukraine then won the B Pool the following year, completing its dramatic rise to the Top Division. The country played at this level from 1999 to 2007, and also competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics, but since then, they have played in the Division I (second-tier) tournament.
Alexander Godynyuk, who first appeared with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1990-91, was the first Ukrainian player to make it to the National Hockey League. Dimitri Khristich, Alexei Zhitnik, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Sergei Varlamov, Ruslan Fedotenko and Oleg Tverdovsky are also Ukrainians who have played in the NHL. Some famous players with Ukrainian heritage are Dave Andreychuk and Dale Hawerchuk. Other players of note include Ramil Yuldashev, Anatoli Stepanishev, Yuri Shundrov, Valeri Shiryaev, Konstantin Simchuk, Igor Karpenko, Roman Salnikov, Sergei Klymentiev, Oleksandr Fedorov, Olexander Pobyedonostsev, Oleh Tymchenko, and Oleg Shafarenko.
The women's national team participated in the IIHF European Women Championships in 1993 and 1995, playing in Pool B both years. In 1994, they competed at the Moscow Tournament, finishing in fourth and last place.
The junior national team competed in the IIHF World U20 Championship Group C Qualification tournament in 1992. They made their debut at the world juniors in 1993, playing in Pool C, which they won, and thus earned promotion to Pool B. Ukraine then won this division, and made their first appearance in the Top division in 1995. Their best finish was eighth place in the Top Division in 1995. Since 2005, the team has competed in the Division I (B) and II (C) tournaments.