For champion Hungarian hockey team MAC Budapest, Super January starts tonight, Wednesday, with the visit of DVTK Jegesmedvék to the Tüskecsarnok. The match is one of a seven-strong schedule in the Slovak Tipsport Liga, one of Europe’s best leagues, being hosted in south Buda this month. Meanwhile, also in town tonight, Újpest host bitter rivals Ferencváros for a clash in the Erste Liga won by MAC in 2018.
It’s going to be a busy January 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. MAC entered the top Hungarian league in 2015.
“Two years ago we ended up winning the Erste Liga, which is a pretty unique achievement in only the third professional season for our organisation,” said MAC communications manager Emese Péter.
“Then we got the interesting opportunity to join the Slovak Tipsport Liga, which is a level above its Hungarian counterpart and one of the top ten leagues in Europe. This is our second year at this level and we are very proud to host teams such as Slovan Bratislava, HC Košice, Banská Bystrica, and so on. Week after week, we get to face players who have played hundreds of games in the NHL, KHL and other top leagues.”
At the family-friendly Tüskecsarnok, admission is affordable, facilities comfortable and the mulled wine warming. Spectators sit close to the action, beer or hot drink in hand, the atmosphere fun and relaxed. Tonight’s game starts at 6.30pm, others in January at 5pm and 7pm according to schedule. Tickets are available online here or on the door. Souvenirs, hats, tops and scarves, are available online and from the outlet beside the bar, just behind the main seated area.
To reach the Tüskecsarnok, take trams 1 or 41 to Budafoki út/Dombóvári út and walk five minutes along Hevesy György út.
Four Budapest sides also compete in the Erste Liga, the main opposition provided by teams from Transylvania, a distant outpost but passionate heartland of ice hockey.
Tonight, Wednesday 8 January, bitter Budapest rivals, Újpest and Ferencváros, clash at the Jégcsarnok on Megyeri út. Just after Christmas, Ferencváros edged Újpest 6-5 in a real cliff-hanger – now the pair meet again, and the fur will fly. The match, the last for this round of the season, takes place at 6pm. Ticket information here.