70 years of Josef Kotas Ice Hockey Arena – home to the Vítkovice opened on 28 October 1947

70 years of Josef Kotas Ice Hockey Arena – home to the Vítkovice opened on 28 October 1947

This historical home to the Ostrava and Czechoslovak hockey was opened exactly 70 years ago, on 28 October 1947. This year, when we celebrate the 750th anniversary of the first written mention of Ostrava, it constitutes another anniversary revolving around number sever, although legendary ‘Kotas’ is nothing but a memory now.

It was on 1 May 1947 when the then Mayor Josef Kotas laid the cornerstone of the future arena at the junction of Českobratrská St. and Cingrova St., next to a railway flyover and opposite the city slaughterhouse. After only six months, the construction of the ice rink was complete, and the stands were almost built. Josef Kotas Ice Hockey Arena became the fifth ice hockey venue in the then Czechoslovakia.

Josef Kotas Ice Hockey Arena was officially opened on 28 October 1947, with an exhibition game between Bohemia and Moravia. The game was attended by some 9,000 fans seated on still not finished stands. The attendance record – 22,000 spectators – was set on 27 January 1949 during a CS – USA game.

It became the home to the Vítkovice in the 1948–49 season.

In 1955, Kotas Arena became the first roofed venue in Czechoslovakia, and in 1959, it hosted the Ice Hockey World Championship. The stadium experienced a big boom in 1973, when the Vítkovice returned to the top league. It was in these years when the ‘Kotas’ phenomenon, still  reminisced by many fans, was born.

The stadium, however, grew old, and on 4 November 1986, the Vítkovice played for the first time in newly build Culture and Sports Palace. Kotas Arena hosted the last hockey game in 1993, and in the winter of 2003–04 it was razed to the ground. Famous ‘Kotas’ lives on only in our memories…