Ukrainian hockey
1906 - 1919

In 1906, Ivan Bobersky, a professor at the Ukrainian Academic Gymnasium in Lviv, established the "Ukrainian Sports Club." This club fostered various sporting disciplines, including athletics, football, hockey, boxing, figure skating, skiing, and sledging.

Just four years later, Bobersky published the international hockey rules in Ukrainian within the sports magazine "News from Zaporizhya" and subsequently organized the hockey section of the "Ukraine" society. Following this, he assembled the inaugural hockey team in Ukraine, named "ST Ukraine."

Prior to the conclusion of the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918-1919, the regions of Galicia and Bukovyna served as the primary hubs of Ukrainian hockey. However, post-war territorial shifts occurred, with Galician territories falling under Polish occupation and the northern Bukovina region coming under Romanian control.

1920 - 1930
In occupation

During the 1920s, hockey had gained significant popularity across Western Europe, including Poland and Western Ukraine. Cities like Lviv and Ternopil were notable hubs for the sport during this era. By the mid-1930s, Lviv boasted five hockey teams, with three of them— "Charny," "Lechia," and "Pogon"—actively participating in the Polish championship. Meanwhile, Ternopil saw the emergence of the "Kresy" team.

Hockey matches in those days were often played outdoors, on rivers or ponds, especially in the central parts of cities prone to flooding during winter. In 1925, the Hockey League, Liga Naţională de hockey, was established in Romania. Two years later, the Polska Liga Hokeja (PLH) was founded in Poland, where Lviv clubs dominated until 1935, clinching eight prizes, including two championships.

1929 - 1939

In the Romanian city of Chernivtsi, now part of Ukraine, the "Dovbush" team emerged in 1929 under the leadership of V. Sherey, comprised mainly of students from the Ukrainian academic cossacks "Zaporizhe" and "Chornomore". Their inaugural game on Christmas Day in 1930 against future two-time Romanian champions, Telefon Club, ended in a 5-0 loss on their home turf. However, the following winter, Dovbush secured a notable victory against Bucharest.

Between 1930 and 1931, Chernivtsi boasted five hockey teams, complete with the construction of an ice rink featuring a locker room and lighting. Notably, in the 1930s, the Romanian national hockey team ranked among the world's top ten, according to World Cup rankings. However, with the outbreak of World War II, Romania initiated a general mobilization, leading to the cancellation of the 39th tournament as most athletes were deployed to the front lines.

1930 - 1939
"ST" "Ukraine"

After the establishment of the PHL, the team "Ukraine" eagerly joined the district league, proudly sporting sewn uniforms adorned with the letter "U" on the chest. Comprising mostly players from low-income families, Ukrainian entrepreneurs generously pooled funds to support their participation in the championship. Among the team's notable players were Roman and Myron, the sons of artist Ivan Trush, as well as the grandchildren of Mikhail Drahomanov.

In its inaugural season, the team showcased remarkable prowess, swiftly advancing to the esteemed class A within a year. By 1938, "Ukraine" had clinched the second spot in the Galicia district league, surpassing reigning champions Pogon Lwów and securing a place in the quarterfinals. While set to face off against Poland's KS Cracovia, the game was regrettably canceled due to warm weather conditions hindering the proper preparation of the ice rink.

1939 - 1945
War years

In 1939, Soviet forces occupied Lviv, leading to the disbandment of the "Ukraine" sports society as a "bourgeois nationalist" organization, which boasted some of Lviv's top players such as the Dytso brothers, Mykola Skrypiy, Omelyan Buchatsky, and Roman Myronets. In 1942, occupation authorities organized an international tournament in Krakow, featuring DTSG Kraków, Ostbahn Kraków, Trzaniec from Silesia, Troppauer EV Opava from the Czechoslovak Hockey League, and Lviv's "Ukraine." The Galician team emerged victorious, winning all four matches and the tournament by scoring 18 goals. They were then invited to another tournament in Krynytsia, Lemkiv region, where they defeated a German team in overtime and clinched the final against a Czechoslovak team, receiving the Cup at the closing ceremony.

However, in June 1940, Soviet troops occupied Bukovina, and after several victories of "Dovbush" over the Red Army, the athletes were labeled as "nationalist bourgeoisie." To evade arrest, most of them chose to emigrate. After 20 years of operation, the Dovbush sports association, including the hockey team, ceased to exist.

1946 - 1991
Soviet Union

During the Soviet era, hockey in both Bukovina and Galicia suffered a significant setback. No team from these regions participated in the USSR championship between 1946 and 1992. Throughout the major leagues, only three Ukrainian teams were represented. Dynamo Kyiv ascended to the top league of the USSR, competing from 1965 to 1970. Subsequently, HC Sokil emerged from this club, primarily competing in the Premier League and securing bronze in the 1984-85 season. Additionally, Dynamo Kharkiv briefly joined the USSR Premier League from Ukraine in 1989-1990, and Spartak Uzhhorod participated in the first championship of the USSR. The most notable achievement of Ukrainian teams in Soviet hockey was the bronze medal earned by Kyiv Sokil in 1985.

1947 - 1949
The Lion (Mittenwald)

Before the Soviet army arrived, the majority of the Lviv "Ukraine" hockey team emigrated to Germany and found refuge in a displaced persons camp in Mittenwald. In 1947, Omelyan Buchatsky and his comrades formed a new hockey team called "Lev" (meaning "Lion" in Ukrainian). They initially triumphed over opponents from other camps before challenging German professional teams, including the US military team Red Wings. Buchatsky himself arranged the match against the Red Wings, and on that memorable day, the Ukrainian team, comprising Kalityak, Lysyak, Buchatsky, Markovsky, Svitenko, Tsymbalisty, Dytso, and goalkeeper Shklyar, defeated the Red Wings with a remarkable score of 10:1. However, following 1949, the Lev team gradually disbanded, with most members immigrating to the United States, Canada, France, while Omelyan Buchatsky relocated to Australia.

Ukrainians in the NHL

Oleksandr Godyniuk holds the distinction of being the first Ukrainian to play in an NHL game, debuting with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1990. Following suit, Dmytro Hristych made his debut with the Washington Capitals. Hristych stands out for recording the highest number of points among Ukrainian NHL players, amassing a total of 597 points throughout his career. He also earned All-Star Game appearances in 1997 and 1999. Additionally, Oleksiy Zhitnyk represented Ukraine in the All-Star Games in 1999 and 2002.

Two Ukrainians have claimed the prestigious Stanley Cup: Ruslan Fedotenko in 2004 and 2009, and Anton Babchuk in 2006.

Notable Ukrainian NHL players include Oleksiy Zhytnyk, Dmytro Hristych, Ruslan Fedotenko, Oleksiy Ponikarovskyi, Oleksandr Godyniuk, and Serhii Varlamov.

1991 - 1999
Independent Ukraine

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine, like many other sectors, faced challenges in transitioning from state-controlled to private ownership, including its sports industry, notably hockey. Despite these obstacles, passionate individuals like Anatoliy Mykolayovych Khorozov emerged as driving forces behind the sport's development in Ukraine. Recognizing the need for organized structures, the Hockey Federation of Ukraine was established on February 20, 1992, with a primary goal of nurturing youth talent through children's and youth hockey sports schools, laying the foundation for the sport's growth and prosperity in the country.

1999 - 2022

From 1999 to 2007, the Ukrainian national hockey team showcased their skills in the top division of the World Cup, achieving their highest placement of 9th in 2002. They also earned a spot in the Winter Olympics that same year, landing in 10th place overall.

Despite the ongoing war initiated by the russian federation, hockey remains a vibrant part of Ukrainian sports culture. Currently, Ukraine is hosting the annual Ukrainian Hockey Championship, featuring six competitive teams battling it out on the ice.