In 1907, an exposition hall was built in the Stromovka district of Prague, where exhibitions and fairs were held. This tradition continued during the First Republic under the name "Prague Sample Fairs", which had great international importance and was held annually.
After World War II finished in May 1945,the fairs were held there twice more in1946 and 1947, then were moved to Brno. In Prague’s fairgrounds, the large building sat empty and was not used for years.
On 2 December 1952, the newly-created State Committee for Physical Education and Sport passed a resolution to study the old exposition hall and return it to working order. Renovations and new construction began soon after.
The original building consisted of three naves spanning 15, 35 and 15 metres and a width of 65 metres. The 90-metre length was divided at 18-metre intervals with steel lattice frame, which were 28 metres high. A hockey rink would have fit into the central nave area of 35 x 60 m, had it not been requested to double the size of the grandstand. This would require removing three steel truss frame structures and replacing them with new steel structures to span 60 m, while guaranteeing an unobstructed view of the ice surface from the stands.
The failure to come up with a suitable design to solve this issue caused the project to be delayed (1954) and finally canceled (1957). In 1958, engineers J. Benedíkt and V. Horák submitted an ambitious design, in which the entire width of the building’s steel orthotropic cylindrical shell (65m) with the addition of two external naves of 17 metres width and 100 metres in length. The old steel structure was used for the assembly of the shell structures.
On 7 March 1962, the first public event was held in the new arena, featuring Czechoslovak figure skaters. A week later, it hosted the World Figure Skating Championship. After that, HC Sparta Praha moved into their new home, where they continue to reside to this day.
At its peak, the arena had a maximum capacity of 14,080 seats. For 1978, Czechoslovakia was chosen by the International Ice Hockey Federation to host the World Championships. One of the conditions, however, was that each facility needed two ice surfaces interconnected. The Czecho-Slovakian Ice Hockey Association, in cooperation with the City Prague, began to build a second ice surface, which was connected to the original building by tunnel. At the time, the CSIHA had its offices at the Czecho-Slovakian Sports Federation, which was located in Prague 1 atNa Poříčí 12.
To ensure that the CSIHA didn’t get cut off from the World Championships, they moved their offices into the arena, alongside Sparta. At the same time, they also built a restaurant. Sparta was there by sublease agreement with the sports federation. The problem was that the large number of Sparta home games limited the number of dates the federation had left to book other events in the arena, which were very profitable.
As a result, Sparta was forced to play some of their league games in the rink on Štvanice Island, where they sometimes practiced (before the completion of the second ice surface). This situation also affected Sparta’s youth teams, which had to commute within Prague to Štvanice and Nikolajka, and also outside of Prague, to Popovice, Kralupy and Mělník.
In 1990, Sparta was able to negotiate with the City of Prague and, after a series of meetings, HC Sparta finally was awarded exclusive use of the arena for a period of 30 years. After so many years, the team finally had a place to truly call home and build a winner. At that time, Sparta began investing heavily in improving the condition of the building to make it an attractive place to come and watch sporting and cultural events.
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