Panthers Otrokovice – road to glory? | Czech Superliga

The Czech Superliga is not the biggest or most well-known in the world. For that, it’s good to focus on specific teams every now and then. This article is about the history of Panthers Otrokovice.

The beginning

The club was founded in 1998 in the town of Holešov (11 thousand inhabitants) near Zlín. It became the first home of this team, but only for one year, as then, the move to Otrokovice followed. 

From 2000 this team settled in the second league (third highest league of the Czech Republic), where they spent the whole time, year after year, until break-through season 2009/2010. In this season, they lost only two games in regular season and after the playoffs for promotion, they made the step up into the first league (one below the Superliga).

Here they were tipped to be relegated right back. But after the regular season in mid-table obscurity, this team made their way through the play offs with rather impressive results and in the play-up matches against Sparta Prague (a traditional team) where they stood their ground. With more than 1,300 fans behind them, the Panthers found their way to historical success with the promotion, to play in the Czech highest division for the first time. These matches weren’t easy at all, and all matches were won by one goal margin.

Since that time, they have never fallen out of the Superliga and started to make their name known in Czech highest division.

Czech highest division

The fact Otrokovice entered the Czech elite meant a big deal for the whole region in the promotion of floorball. A lot of young top talents from the region left their club in order to play for the ‘A-team’.

Panthers Otrokovice slowly amassed a better squad in season 2013/2014, they finished fourth in the league and became runner-up in the cup tournament. But it was the season that followed which really tested the determination of this team. In 2014/2015, the squad played a horrible regular season as they managed to pick only 14 points in 22 games. They didn’t relegate, however as they managed to save themselves in the play-down.

We can only admire that many players who played in the second league many years ago, are still in the team (like Michael Nagy or Tomáš Sovják). Otrokovice’s team is based on fighting spirit, great fan support, and loyalty.

This season & play-offs

Before this season they made it clear that they should a force to reckon with as they played decent matches against IBF Falun and EräViikingit. They lost to both, but only by three goals. Otrokovice tied with Tigers Langnau and beat Zug United (both Switzerland). These were results from the Czech Open, but still brought confidence and experiences.

With the most important part of the season ahead of us, we will see what Panthers Otrokovice can achieve. Reaching a 7th place in regular season, the team will face Czech powerhouse Mlada Boleslav which will be the ultimate test for the team. As a strong underdog with a loyal fan base, however, the team cannot be written of just yet. The first two games of the quarter finals will be played this weekend, both away.

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