Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Archive for the ‘ice hockey’ Category

Sporting update

Posted by Andy Hockley on 5 May, 2008

A couple of pieces of sporting news to report today.

Most relevant to Csikszereda is the news that Steaua Bucharest ice hockey team (not to be confused with the football team of the same name – they are not linked as far as I can tell) has decided to next year play in the Hungarian league. The invitation to participate in that league has been open ever since Sport Cloub from here decided to join it two years ago, but Steaua previously decided not to go down that route. Having watched the Romanian league title be contested by the two Csikszereda teams (Sport Club and Hochei Club) this year, squeezing Steaua out of the championship game for the first time since the 50s, they have obviously realised that the only way to stay competitive is to be in Hungary as well. I think it’s good in many ways that they have decided to do this – partly because if it were just the “Hungarian” teams from Romania that took part it would all look a bit nationalistic, partly because I think the more competitive the league the better, and partly because I just don’t think it can do any harm to have what will essentially become a Hungary-Romania league in a sport (there will be 4 Romanian teams and 7 Hungarian teams in this league next year)

More intriguing from an external perspective is the ongoing saga of the football league. This is going down to the wire with the last games being played on Wednesday this week. The last time I wrote about football here, CFR Cluj were well ahead but I feared a comeback by Steaua, which duly came to pass, thanks partly to some wobbling by CFR and some very suspiciously dodgy decisions and moments in Steaua’s games (including one game against Rapid in which they were 1-0 down, but the ref called off the match gifting Steaua a 3-0 win). A good summary is here from Jonathan Wilson in the Guardian.

Anyway, last night, Dinamo beat Steaua 2-1 to leave CFR one point clear at the top. They only need to win their last game to take the title. It’s just that this last game is against city rivals U Cluj. And U Cluj’s fans hate CFR passionately. And while U are already relegated, I assume the players will do their utmost to knock CFR off so that they can give something back to the fans who’ve watched them through a very bad season. And who knows what pressures the ref will have come under.

If Becali, the most vile man in Romania, gets his way and Steaua win the league, I’m giving up on football in this country. It’s corrupt beyond belief. So come on CFR. Please.

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Posted in football, ice hockey | 3 Comments »

Ice, Sun, and Shopping

Posted by Andy Hockley on 20 March, 2007

We won! When I say “we” of course, I mean Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc, who finally triumphed in the Romanian ice hockey championship last Friday, winning the final best-of-seven-game playoffs against perennial rivals Steaua Bucharest 4-1. The town is buzzing with excitement, or to be more accurate, there is a faint barely detectable low grade hum, which those attuned to the usual lack of excitement in Csikszereda can just about pick up. It’s been a very good season for the team – they also won the Romanian cup, and finished third in their first season in the Hungarian league (I don’t know if that makes them the third best team in Hungary – since they’re obviously not in Hungary – but that’s by-the-by)

Apologies for my lack of posts of late – I have been extremely busy seemingly juggling about 5 balls, and it doesn’t promise to get any less busy any time soon. Last week, I was supposed to be in Tashkent, for example, but it got called off at the last minute for unspecified political reasons (quite possibly related to the very recent publication of this book in paperback), and instead I was whisked off to London. A city which I imagine looks much like Tashkent. It was a sunny week and I (as I do when it’s sunny in London) was thinking how much I like the city. Of course, it’s normally grey and miserable and that’s the problem with the place. Still, maybe global warming will solve all that and it will become the Rome de nos jours. Except it would be a Rome in which every other building housed a sandwich shop.

One thing I did find myself moved to comment upon while there was shopping. Now it has come to my attention that shopping has become a leisure pursuit of sorts, a hobby, if you will. Why? What possible pleasure is there to be had in wandering through crowded shops desperately trying to find the one or two things you know you want, with thousands of other harried people, getting in each others way, surrounded by unhelpful shop assistants, people who stop at the moment they get off the escalator, bright neon lighting, and general rampant materialism? It’s baffling to me. I mean truly baffling. There are few things I really can’t get a handle on, and the enjoyment of shopping is one of them. And I was doing it in the cathedral of English shopping, Oxford Street. Browsing in a small out of the way second hand book shop or record shop, I can understand. Looking for specific items in the heart of London, I cannot.

Posted in ice hockey, travel, uk | 1 Comment »

Ice, Sun, and Shopping

Posted by Andy Hockley on 20 March, 2007

We won! When I say “we” of course, I mean Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc, who finally triumphed in the Romanian ice hockey championship last Friday, winning the final best-of-seven-game playoffs against perennial rivals Steaua Bucharest 4-1. The town is buzzing with excitement, or to be more accurate, there is a faint barely detectable low grade hum, which those attuned to the usual lack of excitement in Csikszereda can just about pick up. It’s been a very good season for the team – they also won the Romanian cup, and finished third in their first season in the Hungarian league (I don’t know if that makes them the third best team in Hungary – since they’re obviously not in Hungary – but that’s by-the-by)

Apologies for my lack of posts of late – I have been extremely busy seemingly juggling about 5 balls, and it doesn’t promise to get any less busy any time soon. Last week, I was supposed to be in Tashkent, for example, but it got called off at the last minute for unspecified political reasons (quite possibly related to the very recent publication of this book in paperback), and instead I was whisked off to London. A city which I imagine looks much like Tashkent. It was a sunny week and I (as I do when it’s sunny in London) was thinking how much I like the city. Of course, it’s normally grey and miserable and that’s the problem with the place. Still, maybe global warming will solve all that and it will become the Rome de nos jours. Except it would be a Rome in which every other building housed a sandwich shop.

One thing I did find myself moved to comment upon while there was shopping. Now it has come to my attention that shopping has become a leisure pursuit of sorts, a hobby, if you will. Why? What possible pleasure is there to be had in wandering through crowded shops desperately trying to find the one or two things you know you want, with thousands of other harried people, getting in each others way, surrounded by unhelpful shop assistants, people who stop at the moment they get off the escalator, bright neon lighting, and general rampant materialism? It’s baffling to me. I mean truly baffling. There are few things I really can’t get a handle on, and the enjoyment of shopping is one of them. And I was doing it in the cathedral of English shopping, Oxford Street. Browsing in a small out of the way second hand book shop or record shop, I can understand. Looking for specific items in the heart of London, I cannot.

Posted in ice hockey, travel, uk | 2 Comments »

The Mikulás

Posted by Andy Hockley on 4 December, 2006

The Mikulás is coming. I think he’s due on Wednesday. The Mikulás, in case you’re not up to date with these things, is known in English as St Nicholas, and he actually comes on St Nicholas’s day (Dec 6th) rather than on Christmas Eve. Anyway, the Mikulás comes and leaves sweets and fruit in your shoes. So, you can end up eating somewhat smelly apples after his visit.

Anyway, yesterday I was watching the news and they were doing some piece about Mos Nicolae (the Romanian name for the Mikulás), and were showing people shopping in Bucharest (Romanian media never bothers to leave Bucharest unless someone gets murdered) for toys and stuff. I asked Erika whether Mos Nicolae, unlike the Mikulás, leaves toys, and she explained that no, he leaves sweets and fruit like his Hungarian equivalent, but that these days both of these Nicholases have started leaving toys, spurred on by the advertising industry and a compliant media (she didn’t actually say all that, I just inferred it). Ours, however, still sticks to finomsagok (sweets) and gyümölcs (fruit). In fact he even sent an advanced party this weekend, in the shape of my father-in-law who left behind various exotic fruits previously unseen in our household – a pomegranate, a pineapple, a coconut and a mango. It was all very tropical and un-Decemberish.

(He – the Mikulás, not my father-in-law – also popped up in town to deliver a pair of victories for Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc over Steaua Bucharest in the ice hockey. I went on Saturday and saw an excellently exciting match – 3-0 up, we were pulled back to 3-3 before a last minute winner sent the rink, and the town, into paroxysms of ecstacy)

So, anyway, I have been tagged by Ada to provide a list of things that I hope that the Mikulás will bring us. Obviously the whole world peace, freedom for the Palestinians, health and happiness for everyone I know, ending of dictatorship everywhere it rears its head, stuff etc etc goes without saying, and anyway, I suspect they won’t fit in my (or anyone else’s) shoes. I will probably be hearing news of a very interesting job possibility on or around Dec 6th, which I hope goes my way, and that can be one thing. Aside from that, I kind of feel I have everything I want. A shortish winter maybe. I’m really a tad stumped. Seems a little bit churlish to wish for material things. So you know, health and happiness in 2007 will have to do.

Posted in ice hockey, romania, the blogosphere | Leave a Comment »

The Mikulás

Posted by Andy Hockley on 4 December, 2006

The Mikulás is coming. I think he’s due on Wednesday. The Mikulás, in case you’re not up to date with these things, is known in English as St Nicholas, and he actually comes on St Nicholas’s day (Dec 6th) rather than on Christmas Eve. Anyway, the Mikulás comes and leaves sweets and fruit in your shoes. So, you can end up eating somewhat smelly apples after his visit.

Anyway, yesterday I was watching the news and they were doing some piece about Mos Nicolae (the Romanian name for the Mikulás), and were showing people shopping in Bucharest (Romanian media never bothers to leave Bucharest unless someone gets murdered) for toys and stuff. I asked Erika whether Mos Nicolae, unlike the Mikulás, leaves toys, and she explained that no, he leaves sweets and fruit like his Hungarian equivalent, but that these days both of these Nicholases have started leaving toys, spurred on by the advertising industry and a compliant media (she didn’t actually say all that, I just inferred it). Ours, however, still sticks to finomsagok (sweets) and gyümölcs (fruit). In fact he even sent an advanced party this weekend, in the shape of my father-in-law who left behind various exotic fruits previously unseen in our household – a pomegranate, a pineapple, a coconut and a mango. It was all very tropical and un-Decemberish.

(He – the Mikulás, not my father-in-law – also popped up in town to deliver a pair of victories for Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc over Steaua Bucharest in the ice hockey. I went on Saturday and saw an excellently exciting match – 3-0 up, we were pulled back to 3-3 before a last minute winner sent the rink, and the town, into paroxysms of ecstacy)

So, anyway, I have been tagged by Ada to provide a list of things that I hope that the Mikulás will bring us. Obviously the whole world peace, freedom for the Palestinians, health and happiness for everyone I know, ending of dictatorship everywhere it rears its head, stuff etc etc goes without saying, and anyway, I suspect they won’t fit in my (or anyone else’s) shoes. I will probably be hearing news of a very interesting job possibility on or around Dec 6th, which I hope goes my way, and that can be one thing. Aside from that, I kind of feel I have everything I want. A shortish winter maybe. I’m really a tad stumped. Seems a little bit churlish to wish for material things. So you know, health and happiness in 2007 will have to do.

Posted in ice hockey, romania, the blogosphere | Leave a Comment »

I’m still here

Posted by Andy Hockley on 29 November, 2006

Apologies for the huge lack of activity here of late. Been pretty busy writing stuff, driving back and forth to Cluj (for some reason the November has been marked by various unrelated meetings in Cluj), looking for work, and generally non-blog-friendly activities.

I’m hoping to make a triumphant comeback on Friday since it’s December 1st and I seemingly make all my most controversial posts on that date, and I feel that it’s a tradition that needs to be maintained. As an appetite whetter, I have just learned that the Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc vs Steaua Bucharest ice hockey match scheduled for Friday may be postponed until the weekend so as not to have it potentially stirring up trouble (It – the fixture mentioned – is basically the only semi-major sporting forum for inter-ethnic rivalry within Romanian sport. Obviously it’s not exactly Dinamo Zagreb vs Red Star Belgrade, but you know there’s no point giving people an excuse to start something)

Our new apartment overlooks the main square in the town and so this year, should I so desire, I can watch the exciting military parade from the balcony. But, on the other hand, I could do something infinitely more interesting and pressing like reading an article on performance management or watching some beans soak. I’ve heard that people in Alba Iulia who have apartments overlooking the square actually rent out their balconies for people to watch from. I’d like to try the same here, but cannot possibly imagine anyone being interested. Especially now tomato season is over.

Posted in csikszereda, ice hockey | 2 Comments »

I’m still here

Posted by Andy Hockley on 29 November, 2006

Apologies for the huge lack of activity here of late. Been pretty busy writing stuff, driving back and forth to Cluj (for some reason the November has been marked by various unrelated meetings in Cluj), looking for work, and generally non-blog-friendly activities.

I’m hoping to make a triumphant comeback on Friday since it’s December 1st and I seemingly make all my most controversial posts on that date, and I feel that it’s a tradition that needs to be maintained. As an appetite whetter, I have just learned that the Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc vs Steaua Bucharest ice hockey match scheduled for Friday may be postponed until the weekend so as not to have it potentially stirring up trouble (It – the fixture mentioned – is basically the only semi-major sporting forum for inter-ethnic rivalry within Romanian sport. Obviously it’s not exactly Dinamo Zagreb vs Red Star Belgrade, but you know there’s no point giving people an excuse to start something)

Our new apartment overlooks the main square in the town and so this year, should I so desire, I can watch the exciting military parade from the balcony. But, on the other hand, I could do something infinitely more interesting and pressing like reading an article on performance management or watching some beans soak. I’ve heard that people in Alba Iulia who have apartments overlooking the square actually rent out their balconies for people to watch from. I’d like to try the same here, but cannot possibly imagine anyone being interested. Especially now tomato season is over.

Posted in csikszereda, ice hockey | 2 Comments »

Local news

Posted by Andy Hockley on 14 October, 2006

There’s an awful lot of construction going on at the moment here. I mean it’s not Dubai, but things do seem to be moving (not sure in what direction exactly, but moving nevertheless). In particular there are three very big construction projects that ever since I moved here had been completely frozen it seemed. A big apartment building on our street, a large unspecified piece of concrete opposite the apartment and looking directly onto “Taps Ter” (thanks Ada), and a huge indoor sports complex. All of these buildings were half finished (at best) and looked like they would remain that way for ever. But now there is action. The apartment building is nearly finished. The sports hall thingy likewise. Even the grey piece of concrete nothingness across the way has suddenly sprung into life, and is being operated on by a large team of workers (it is going to become a high school, I’m told). Already the complaints have started though – there’ll not be enough parking places for the high school, and why would we have a high school right in the middle of the town? The sports hall is already rumoured to be inaccessible for the mere plebs of the town and the facilities will only be available for a select few.

Various other town clean up operations are underway too – new signposts, a new one way system, with wide seeming pavements, and even cycle paths everywhere. The cycle paths are a little bit problematic as no-one has seen fit to advise the general population as to what they are, so you see people having conversations on them, using them for pushchair pushing, just wandering around aimlessly on them, while cyclists attempt to weave in and out of them as best they can. Still, it will all look very good when it’s done. (Though with winter right round the corner, everything may soon be put on hold for 6 months) I’ll take some pictures later and regale you with the new Csikszereda.

In other exciting local news, Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc, the ice hockey team, have won the Romanian Cup, beating Steaua Bucharest 4-3 in the final. This occasioned much rejoicing and celebrations, with people staying up and out on the streets as late as 11pm, the wild party animals that they are. The team are also currently joint top of the Hungarian ice hockey league and top of the Romanian one (though the Romanian league season is always merely a precursor to another final against Steaua)

Posted in csikszereda, ice hockey, news | Leave a Comment »

Local news

Posted by Andy Hockley on 14 October, 2006

There’s an awful lot of construction going on at the moment here. I mean it’s not Dubai, but things do seem to be moving (not sure in what direction exactly, but moving nevertheless). In particular there are three very big construction projects that ever since I moved here had been completely frozen it seemed. A big apartment building on our street, a large unspecified piece of concrete opposite the apartment and looking directly onto “Taps Ter” (thanks Ada), and a huge indoor sports complex. All of these buildings were half finished (at best) and looked like they would remain that way for ever. But now there is action. The apartment building is nearly finished. The sports hall thingy likewise. Even the grey piece of concrete nothingness across the way has suddenly sprung into life, and is being operated on by a large team of workers (it is going to become a high school, I’m told). Already the complaints have started though – there’ll not be enough parking places for the high school, and why would we have a high school right in the middle of the town? The sports hall is already rumoured to be inaccessible for the mere plebs of the town and the facilities will only be available for a select few.

Various other town clean up operations are underway too – new signposts, a new one way system, with wide seeming pavements, and even cycle paths everywhere. The cycle paths are a little bit problematic as no-one has seen fit to advise the general population as to what they are, so you see people having conversations on them, using them for pushchair pushing, just wandering around aimlessly on them, while cyclists attempt to weave in and out of them as best they can. Still, it will all look very good when it’s done. (Though with winter right round the corner, everything may soon be put on hold for 6 months) I’ll take some pictures later and regale you with the new Csikszereda.

In other exciting local news, Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc, the ice hockey team, have won the Romanian Cup, beating Steaua Bucharest 4-3 in the final. This occasioned much rejoicing and celebrations, with people staying up and out on the streets as late as 11pm, the wild party animals that they are. The team are also currently joint top of the Hungarian ice hockey league and top of the Romanian one (though the Romanian league season is always merely a precursor to another final against Steaua)

Posted in csikszereda, ice hockey, news | Leave a Comment »

The World in Csikszereda

Posted by Andy Hockley on 12 March, 2006

It’s not often that your town gets to host a World Championships in something. Well, it probably happens daily if your town is New York or London or somewhere, but if your town has 40,000 residents and is buried in the back end of the Carpathians, it seems like it would be particularly rare, to the point of being never. But this year alone (and may I remind you it’s only mid March), we have hosted not one but TWO World Championship events. In January, Csikszereda was the venue for the World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Chamionships, while starting today is the World U18 Ice Hockey Championships (adds, in barely audible whisper, Division III). [You may notice a common theme to those two events, and I’m not just referring to the age group.]

Anyway, in January, the town, the rink and its next door hotel, the Fenyő, was witness to a susprising number of foreign visitors (i.e. more than one), with Japanese and Koreans wandering round the Profi supermarket (for some reason the world of Short Track Speed Skating is a very East Asian dominated sport). This week we don’t have any East Asians, but we do have New Zealanders, South Africans, Israelis, Turks, and Bulgarians (as well as the Romanian squad, but I’m assuming many of them are from round here anyway). Now, you may be thinking that these nations don’t have a particularly strong tradition of ice hockey, but that’s just splitting hairs because you’re jealous of how the world’s attention is focussed on the Vakar Lajos ice rink, Miercurea Ciuc, this week.

The publicity for this event has been virtually non-existent, though, which is a pity. This may be because the tournament was supposed to take place in Israel, until the ice-hockey powers that be decided to shift it because of security concerns (perhaps they also discovered that Israel happens to be built in a desert). Then it was moved to Bucharest a month ago, and sometime in the last couple of weeks was shifted again to Csikszereda. I’ve seen precisely two posters advertising it, and both of those were affixed to the door of the rink itself. But hopefully the word will spread (it usually does since there’s so little that goes on here normally), and the crowds will flock to the ice rink and watch the cream of the world’s U18 talent (Division III).

I, as Csikszereda’s official English language representative on the Internet, have been inundated with emails from proud or anxious parents trying to find out more news from this strangely obscure venue. Well, when I say inundated, I mean one bloke from New Zealand has written.

Anyway, it is my avowed intention to go down and watch a game or two, and revel in this feast of Ice Hockey

Posted in csikszereda, ice hockey | 3 Comments »