How to watch ice hockey in Budapest
It’s crunch time for Hungarian ice hockey. As Budapest prepares to stage the World Championship Division 1 in April, the regular domestic season is hotting up, with league and cup soon to be decided. Here in Budapest, three teams compete in the Erste Liga, against opposition from the Hungarian provinces, Vienna and Transylvania. Tonight, Friday January 12th, top Budapest contenders MAC hosts leaders DVTK at the Tüskecsarnok, with two more key games to follow next week. Admission is affordable, facilities comfortable and the mulled wine warming. Time to hit the rink and watch the players do battle.
It’s going to be a busy week for the Tüskecsarnok, the 4,000-seater sports hall near Rákóczi Bridge on the Buda side. An ice rink in winter, this spiky-roofed facility opened in 2014 is home to venerable MAC Budapest club. Dating back to 1875, Budapest’s oldest sports association first formed an ice hockey division in 1963. This recently reformed outfit entered the top Hungarian league in 2015.
At the family-friendly Tüskecsarnok, spectators sit close to the action, beer or mulled wine in hand, the atmosphere fun and relaxed. Admission is 1,300 HUF, cash-only at the door. Souvenirs, hats, tops and scarves, are available from the outlet beside the bar, just behind the main seated area.
Currently three Budapest sides compete in the Erste Liga, MAC neck-and-neck with Dunaújváros for second place as the league soon divides into the play-off phase.
In mid-table are the ice hockey teams of Újpest, who play at the rink by the club’s football stadium on Megyeri út, and Ferencváros, based way out in Pesterzsébet at Zodony utca 1. Games between these two bitter city rivals can be very fiery indeed, a hangover from the antagonism on and off the football pitch.
The upcoming semi-finals of the Hungarian Cup keeps these two opponents apart, the holders MAC taking on Újpest at the Tüskecsarnok on Wednesday, January 17th at 8.15pm, while Ferencváros play in Miskolc on the same evening.
In between tonight’s clash with DVTK and Wednesday’s with Újpest, MAC finish the regular league season by welcoming Vienna Capitals II to the Tüskecsarnok on Monday at 8.15pm.
Several of the MAC team also play for the Hungarian national team, currently enjoying a huge surge of interest. Competing in the elite division of the World Championships in 2016, Hungary are now at Division 1 level, one tier down in the global rankings.
This means that Budapest can stage the Division 1A world finals this April, with teams from Britain, Italy, Slovenia, Poland and Kazakhstan for the chance to join the elite division next time. Matches take places at the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna between April 22nd and 28th.
MAC Budapest Ice Hockey Club
- 1117 Budapest, Magyar tudósok körútja