International Ice Hockey Federation

Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Stories

Paulova works as team host for Czechs

Published 24.12.2014 23:22 GMT-5 | Author Wendy Graves
Volunteer Stories
Ivana Paulova with Steven Stamkos, after Canada won gold at the 2008 World Juniors in the Czech Republic. Photo: courtesy of Ivana Paulova
Volunteers are an essential part of every event. In this daily feature we portrait volunteers and their tasks at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

What exactly is a team host?

“One of my friends called it the event coordinator for the team, and that’s basically it,” says Ivana Paulova. The Czech-born, now Toronto-based Paulova will serve as team host for her home and native land at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. That means helping coordinate meal plans, the hotel set-up, transportation, water bottles for practice – in a nutshell, being the team’s go-to-person.

“I love it because it’s organizing and that’s something I really enjoy doing,” says Paulova, “And doing it in a hockey environment, perfect.”

This year marks Paulova’s eighth trip to the World Juniors but her first as a volunteer.

In the early 2000s, she started writing about young Czech players for She moved on to freelancing for newspapers and eventually landed a job covering sports for a national newspaper, with hockey being her primary focus.

“I realized how much I liked junior hockey and wanted to spotlight how amazing these players are at such a young age.”

She attended her first World Juniors at home in 2002; the following year she travelled to Halifax, N.S. “It was an amazing experience to see how (much) Canadians love the World Juniors,” she says. “I totally fell in love with that.”

Paulova moved to Toronto three-and-a-half years ago, and with the World Juniors taking place in her new backyard, she wanted to be involved again – only this time she wanted to see the story from a different angle.

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“I enjoyed being a journalist,” she says, “but there’s nothing better than being a part of a team.”

Once last year’s results placed the Czech Republic in Toronto for its preliminary games, Paulova reached out to the Czech Ice Hockey Association and Hockey Canada to be involved. “I kept bugging them until they finally gave it to me,” she says, laughing.

“The World Juniors in Canada is such a spectacular event, so being part of it (is amazing), and being part of it with people from my own country, even better.”

Having left the world of sports journalism behind, Paulova isn’t as familiar with the Czech junior players as she once was. However, thanks to a soccer ball, she’s quickly became part of their team.

“I was sitting having dinner and the ball landed on my table,” she says. “I was like, ‘Okay, guys, we can kick the ball together.’”

Paulova hopes to see this team succeed the way the 2005 team did in Grand Forks, N.D. It’s the only time she’s seen her country win a medal at the World Juniors.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” she says, “but I have a good feeling about this team as well.”


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