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TOP SLOVAK CLUB ASKING FANS FOR DONATIONS TO COVER DEBTS

The most successful hockey club in Slovakia is in dire financial straits. As a result, they have been forced to turn to an unusual source to preserve their ability to participate in the Slovak Tipsport Liga -- the fans.

HC Kosice has published a statement on their website confirming that because of club debts (which are estimated to be at 330,000 Euro) and issues with sponsorship, they need 700,000 Euro by July 15th or they will not be able to play in the league next season. The club is offering fans the option to support the team directly with donations, purchases in the fan shop, and is also offering sponsorship opportunities.

The Slovak Tipsport Extraliga came into existence in 1993 after the peaceful split between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. At one point, they were ranked the sixth strongest league in the world. The current league includes 13 teams, including two from neighboring Hungary who joined before the 2018-19 season.

HC Kosice was established in 1962, and its success dates back to its participation in the Czechoslovak Extraliga, where they won two championships in the 1980s. The club is tied with HC Slovan Bratislava with eight Slovak league titles and they are the all-time leader with 10 win in the Tatra Cup, the second oldest European club tournament after the Spengler Cup. In another interesting note, the club is coached by Peter Draisaitl, father of NHL star Leon Draisaitl.

The team's Steel Arena, which opened in 2006, is sponsored by US Steel Kosice, a subsidiary of US steel. The local steel industry has fallen on hard times. In its statement, the club writes: "After the losses caused by the early end of the season, the club must also cope with the loss of the general partner. Although this may not be permanent, repeated support from US Steel Kosice will come into consideration only after the situation in the steel mills has improved. They are facing the biggest crisis in the steel industry in the last 50 years." The sale of season tickets will not be enough to cover the shortfall, claims the club.

In the event that the donations do not reach the amount necessary for the club to continue its operations, Kosice will participate in the league next season and the money will be used for the team's youth development and training programs.



Source: HC Kosice
MIKE OLIVSON
JULY 4, 2020  (15H35)
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