My life behind the Iron Curtain: Lubo

Lubomir Korhon in full flight
Lubomir Korhon in full flight
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Sheffield Steeldogs’ best player has revealed how his 19-season career across Europe was forged by the Communist-controlled sports programmes run for children in the former state of Czechoslovakia.

Lubomír Korhoň, a 35 year old forward was born in Olomouc, now the Czech Republic. In an unusual departure from the norm, Korhoň this week spoke about his upbringing behind the Iron Curtain, before the fall of the regime there in 1989.

He said: “It’s very different now but when I grew up it was the Communist era, it was OK for the children but the system (generally) was not great, no one could travel anywhere, everyone had to be the same. It was hard but they took a lot of interest in sport, every child did some kind of sports. I started in figure skating when I was three.

“When I was six I started playing hockey. There were 120 children trying to get 25 spaces on the team and I was one of them. It was very professional; we’d practice every day, five or six practices a week. In many ways we had it better than the kids today. We were always going out and playing sports whereas the kids today just sit and play computer games. I also played football and did some athletics; I had a good childhood.”

As a prospect, he was coached by Jiri Latal, who played 92 games for Philadelphia Flyers.

Korhoň played for his country before trying his hand in Poland and Slovakia, arriving in Sheffield last season. Asked about the style of Steeldogs hockey in the EPL, he admitted it took a while to get used it. “I grew up playing the European style game with more passing and skating, taking time to build up the play. If you want to be good you have to be able to change style and I have adapted now and there are other guys on the team who can compliment my style. It is like Canadian hockey from 15-20 years ago but the Czechs and Finns are having an influence on how it is.”

Mid-table Steeldogs have back to back games with Swindon Wildcats this weekend.

n Steelers coach Doug Christiansen wants a repeat of the “60 minutes of passion” his team showed in last weekend’s Braehead win. The Elite side hosts Coventry Blaze on Saturday.