|National federation||Romanian Ice Hockey Federation|
|IIHF since||January 24, 1924|
|Top league||Romanian Hockey League|
|Current champion||CSM Dunărea Galaţi|
Romania is a country in Central Europe. Bucharest is the capital and largest city.
|Romanian Hockey League||1924||-||Top-level national competition|
|Harghita Amateur Championship||2004||2007||Defunct amateur competition|
|Romanian Hockey League - Division 2||1968||1991||Defunct second-level competition|
|Romanian Hockey League - Division 3||1988 (?)||Defunct third-level competition|
|Romanian Cup||1950||-||National cup competition|
|Romanian Women's Hockey League||2001||-||National women's competition|
|Romanian junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
History of hockey in Romania
Ice hockey made its first inroads in Romania in the winter of 1917-18, as the sport was brought home by migrant families from North America. They began practicing on frozen lakes in Brasov. In the winter of 1920-21, the football field in the city center (located in what is now the Nicolae Titulescu park) was converted into an ice rink. In the capital of Bucharest, Tenis Club Roman began practicing hockey during the winter of 1918-19.
In 1924, Nicolae Carabtescu, vice-president of the Romanian Winter Sports Committee (RWSC), imported the rules of ice hockey from France and requested membership to the LIHG (IIHF), which was accepted on January 24. The RWSC was renamed the Romanian Ice Sports Committee in 1927 and later became the Romanian Winter Sports Federation in 1931. Ice hockey in Romania is now governed by the independent Romanian Ice Hockey Federation.
The Brașovia Brașov club was formed by the professor Dragos Navrea on January 3, 1924. Navrea was the best skater in Brasov and won the regional figure skating championship two weeks later. Another club known as Coltea Brasov was also formed in the city, composed of military troops stationed in the area.
The national championship was first held during the winter of 1924-25. It was won by Brasovia Brasov, although the Bucharest clubs (Hockey Club Roman Bucharest, Tenis Club Roman Bucharest, Telefon Club Bucharest, and HC Bragadiru Bucharest) soon asserted their dominance. A club was formed in Cluj (Universitatea Cluj) in 1926. Hockey also spread to Miercurea Ciuc, where an ice rink had existed since 1870, when SC Miercurea Ciuc was established.
Maccabi Cernauti formed an ice hockey section in 1927 and faced Tenis Club Roman Bucharest for the Romanian Championship in 1930, losing 11-0. Cernauti (today Chernivtsi, Ukraine) soon became another hotbed for Romanian hockey. As many as eight teams participated in the regional Bukovina Championship during the 1930s and Dragos Voda Cernauti won the national title in 1938. All games were played on natural ice throughout Romania, prior to the opening of the first artificial ice rink, the Patinoarul Otetelesanu on December 5, 1931.
Significant efforts were made to develop the game further during the 1940s and 1950s. New ice rinks were constructed in Bucharest, Galati, and Miercurea Ciuc in 1958. Coaches from Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union also visited Romania to instruct the local players. The Rapid, Juventus, Venus, and Ciocanul clubs of Bucharest dominated the national championship for most of the 1940s. The provincial teams then enjoyed some success with SC Miercurea Ciuc (1949 and 1952), Locomotiva RATA Târgu Mureș (1950, 1951) and Știința Cluj (1954) all claiming national titles. The Romanian Cup, the country's national cup competition, was first contested in 1950.
Beginning in 1964, Dinamo and Steaua Bucharest gained total control of the league. The former was supported by the police while the latter was backed by the army. Steaua has won a record 40 Romanian championships overall. Steaua won the league every year between 1982 and 1996, but SC Miercurea Ciuc has been the most successful club in recent times. ASC Corona 2010 Braşov and CSM Dunărea Galaţi each became first-time Romanian champions with their wins in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Romanian teams have also competed in the multi-national MOL Liga since 2008.
The men's national team first appeared on the international scene at the 1931 World Championship in Krynica, losing 15-0 to the United States in their first game and finishing winless overall. Romania played in six World Championships before World War II. The best pre-war Romanian player was Constantin Cantacuzino, although Alexandru Botez, Paul Anastasiu, Constantin Tico, and Andrei Barbulescu are also worthy of mentions.
Goaltender Dorin Dron was spectacular between the pipes for Romania at the 1947 World Championship, where the Romanians finished seventh, defeating Belgium 6-4 for their only victory. After this they did not return to the World Championships again until 1959, finishing first in the B Pool. During the 1960s, Varga, Czaka, Ionescu, Ferenczi and the Szabo brothers were the top performers on the national team. Defenseman Ion Tiriac, a member of the national team from 1961 to 1964, who later became a top tennis coach, is also worth noting.
Romania played in the Olympic Games four times between 1964 and 1980. The high water mark was their participation in the 1977 World Championship A Pool. Some of the top players on the national team during the 1970s and 1980s were Ion Ionita, George Justinian, Elod Antal, Sandor Gall, Vasile Hutanu, Valerian Netedu, Laszlo Solyom, Gheorghe Hutan, Alexandru Halauca, Eduard Pana, and the forward line of Marian Costea, Doru Tureanu and Dumitru Axinte. Tureanu, who even received an offer to play for the Montreal Canadiens, is undoubtedly the best Romanian player ever. He and Eduard Pana are the only Romanians who have been inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
The national team's performance declined toward the end of the 1980s as their stars aged and no younger players were able to step in to fill their voids. The nadir was falling to the lowest-tier D Pool World Championship in 1989. They made it back in the B Pool in 1992 and the national team has generally competed either at this level (now Division I) or in the C Pool (now Division II) since then.
The women's national team first appeared on the international scene in 2001, playing in the IIHF World Women's Championships Group B Qualification tournament. After a five-year hiatus, Romania returned to win the Division II Qualification tournament in 2016.
The junior national team debuted at the IIHF World U20 Championships in 1983, playing in Pool C. They finished first in the group and were promoted to Pool B for 1984. Their best finish was second place in Pool B in 1988.