The word “hockey” was first heard in Austria in 1897 when the first articles from overseas appeared in Austro-Hungarian newspapers. Two years later, at Christmas-time, Austrians tried skating on the ice with a stick for the first time. Before the end of the nineteenth century without any knowledge of the exact rules they played on a rink called "Engelmann'schen Eisplatz" a place that reminded them of the hockey played so far away.
In January 1900, the first game between two clubs, Training Eisclub and Wiener Athletiksport-Club was played. The game was played according to definite rules and it even had its own referee. Then, in 1909, the first hockey stadium was opened in Austria and training conditions began to improve dramatically. In 1912, the Österreichisches Eishockeyverband (ÖEHV) was established, which on 18 March of the same year became a member of the LIHG (its membership was interrupted twice – the Austrians dropped out of contact with the world elite in the years 1920-1924 and also from 1939-1946). On the day the domestic hockey federation was established, the Austrians had already managed to play a kind of international match. In February 1912, they lost 5-0 with a team from Bohemia. This however was not quite a real international match as such because both countries were joined together under the umbrella of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrian hockey development progressed swiftly, and straightaway in 1913, they took part for the first time in the European Championship in Munich. They gained more experience there and invited the first Canadians into the team. Probably the biggest job was done by a Dr. Watson who in the twenties significantly contributed to the considerable successes of the Austrians. In 1927, they became European champions at home in Vienna, while a year later they were not out of place even at the Olympic Games in St. Moritz – and they repeated their European gold medal victory in 1931. In the meantime, the Austrians also achieved a first in 1930, which was not celebrated with a medal but is definitely worth mentioning – they were the first team from Europe to beat Canada (1-0). At the beginning of the thirties, Austria won its first medal at the World Championship too. Soon however, annexation by Germany occurred, meaning the end of the local hockey federation. During World War II, Austrian hockey players lived a miserable existence, but in 1946, a new stage of development began once again. Alois Schaffer initiated the re-founding of the Austrian hockey federation – and a year later Austria came in third at the World Championship, to date the last medal they have won at the tournament. Czechoslovak fans have pleasant memories of the performance of Austria at that Championship in 1947 which was held in Prague – our southern neighbours helped us with an amazing victory over favoured Sweden to give the Czechoslovaks their first-ever title of World Champions.
From the fifties though, the light of Austrian hockey slowly began to dim. Even though the Austrians have patiently waited for success and quite regularly they have been the organizers of the World Championship, they have not performed well on the ice itself. Austria has swung for a long time between the groups at the World Championship and they have not been able to stabilize their performance for a long time. Even though in the past years, Austria has ranked among the elite, the world’s top sixteen teams, the results have not been what fans might have wished for. Maybe it augurs for better times, in the last tournament in Finland, the Austrians made it to the final eight – and for the most part playing quite spectacular hockey.
You can find the results and the calendar of 2003/04 season HERE
Bronze: 2 times – 1931, 1947.
Austria has not won any medals at the Olympic Games.