Czech Hockey Star Kateřina Mrázová Performs In AYCANE Hockey Baselayers
The road to stardom and national attention hasn’t been short or easy for all-star women’s hockey player, Kateřina Mrázová.
Men’s hockey has a rich history in the Czech Republic, with legends like Dominik Hasek and Jaromir Jagr (who is somehow still playing) tearing up the NHL, racking up awards, and winning the gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics. But what about the ladies?
They’ve been out there fighting, battling through a series of demotions and promotions from the second tier to the top level at the world championships. In 2022, they finally qualified for their first Olympic games, finishing in 7th place.
Then, this past fall, the Czech women loudly announced their arrival on the international stage with a bronze medal-winning performance at the 2022 IIHF World Championship, the program’s first-ever medal.
Mrázová, an assistant captain, played a key role for Czechia in the tournament and said the difficult road to reach the podium was incredibly rewarding. “It was amazing to see our group stick together and win a medal for the first time after four cycles and lots of hard work,” she says, referring to the qualification period to reach the Olympics and stick in the top tier of women’s hockey.
“ was a challenging year, with the qualification format and then right into the Olympic games, but it was a great experience for the Czech women to make the games and then do well. It gained us exposure on TV, so the program gained some respect. Competing in the tournament on the world’s biggest stage was really special.
“Even with all of the COVID restrictions it was still a great experience, but I hope to get one more try at the Olympics to get the full experience. Still, it’s cool to be a part of history.”
A Blossoming Professional Career
After playing her college career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Mrázová moved into the pros in the now-defunct NWHL before taking her career to Sweden for three seasons with Brynäs IF where she developed her game to become a leading scorer and playmaker.
Mrázová and many other European players returned to the States for the 2022-23 season, where she centers the top line for the Connecticut Whale. Averaging a point per game with the Whale, Mrázová is second on the team in goals and third in points, earning All-star honors and captaining the team at the game in Toronto.
Mrázová noted the difference in styles between the European and American game. “In Europe, obviously we play on the bigger ice, so there’s more time to make plays,” she said. “You can hold the puck a little longer and the game is more about possession and passing, In the U.S., it’s a more direct and action-packed style of going to the net. I actually like the bigger ice, more tape-to-tape passing, and I am still adjusting to making quicker decisions, but it’s totally different hockey.”
As a playmaking, pass-first center, Mrázová likes to have the puck on her stick. “I’m happier if I can set up a teammate to score with a good play than scoring myself.”
How AYCANE Changes Her Game
The Prague-born Mrázová connected with AYCANE through fellow ambassador, Noemi Ryhner, who got her involved and set up with AYCANE gear. Mrázová noticed a difference right away.
“It’s really lightweight and doesn’t smell,” she said of the women’s hockey baselayers. “It takes all the sweat away and stays comfortable throughout the game. Since I got it I haven’t stopped wearing it under my gear.” You’ll often catch Kateřina in her AYCANE hoodie, joggers, tees, and hat even off the ice. She trains in AYCANE as well. “Again, you can’t really smell it like a regular workout tee,” she said. “It’s really lightweight and fits perfectly. I especially love to hop into the joggers and hoodie after a practice or game. It’s comfy and stylish too!”
As Mrázová continues to develop her game here in the states, you can bet she’ll be doing it in AYCANE.