Czechs win at EYOF
by Martin Merk|25 MAR 2022
The Czech players celebrate after beating Sweden for gold.
photo: Yvonne Koch
At the 2022 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Vuokatti, Finland, women’s ice hockey was played for the first time with the Czech U18 women’s national team as gold medal winner.

The tournament was played in the same six-team format traditionally used on the men’s side. Czechia won its group against Switzerland and Hungary while Sweden won the other group against Finland and Slovakia. It was a tight decision especially between the Nordic countries as Sweden needed overtime to beat host Finland 4-3.

The undefeated group winners faced off for gold on Friday. Adela Sapovalivova, the team’s scoring leader, brought Czechia ahead with her goal at 13:53. Midway the third period the Swedes manage to tie it up with Olivia Sohrner’s power-play marker.

After a scoreless 20-minute overtime period the teams went to a shootout and of the ten shooters only Zikmunda Mazancova managed to score in the fourth round. Czech goaltender Michaela Hesova, who had made 25 saves before, stayed unbeaten in the shootout and the Czechs won.

Host Finland beat Switzerland 5-1 for bronze, Slovakia blanked Hungary 3-0 in the fifth-place game.

Most of the teams will meet again at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in June.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic most events were moved from December 2021 to March 2022 while the men’s ice hockey tournament was played at the original dates in December. Gold went to host Finland, which won all games in the five-team round robin tournament, before Belarus, ROC, Czechia and Latvia.

The European Youth Olympic Winter Festival has been held biannually since 1993 with men’s ice hockey making its debut in the 1997 edition. The next edition is planned from 21 to 28 January 2023 in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy with ice hockey planned in Udine, Italy for the men’s event and in Spittal an der Drau, Austria for the women’s event.