Prague, Feb 13 (CTK) – Ice hockey players of the top Czech league, and also those playing the NHL overseas, do not have enough reserve hockey sticks because most of them are produced in China and the factories are closed due to the new coronavirus infection, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes today.
Factories making hockey sticks closed on January 25 when the Chinese New Year is celebrated and then they remained closed due to coronavirus.
Pravo writes that three out of four players of the North American hockey league NHL use sticks of the Bauer and CCM brands that have factories in China. The situation in the Czech top league is rather similar.
The Chinese factories do not deal with old orders and they do not accept new orders.
“Managers returned to the factories at the moment, other employees are returning gradually. The production has stopped and nobody is able to say when it will start again,” Vaclav Culka, from the Czech representation of the Salming firm, told the paper.
Hockey firms have big storerooms in Europe and North America, but professional players use made-to-measure sticks and they buy them in rather small numbers. Some hockey stars use a new stick each game.
Some distributors are optimistic and say the stick production will restart next week, while others are more pessimistic.
The Czech top league team Kometa Brno started training with old sticks to save the new ones for league games.
Pardubice club’s technical manager Libor Hovorka said the team has enough sticks to play the rest of the regular season, which is eight games in its case, but if it advanced to the playoffs it would be a problem. However, this is unlikely because Pardubice is in the last position of the league now.
Martin Strida from the Stridasport company that delivers CCM products to the Czech market said the company had big stores in Czechia and Sweden, but professional players might be affected if the factories in China remained closed.
Strida said the factories should reopen on Monday, according to his information.
He said even if professional players did not have any made-to-measure sticks, they could play with standard ones for a while. “It would not be very comfortable but with a bit of good will they would manage for three weeks,” he told Pravo.
The Czech teams of Plzen, Vitkovice and Trinec do not face problems because reserve sticks were delivered to them shortly before the factories closed.