Many people have complimented slovo dne for its extraordinary accurate and factual examination of historical linguistic questions. Our quite popular posting on the subject of the history of Czech beer, for example, was warmly received by the highest authorities in the land as the definitive account of this controversial topic. So it is with great pleasure that we report our newest discovery. After long and diligent research by our crack team of scientists, semanticians, and historians, we have discovered the historo-linguistic roots of the popular term, “hokej”.
Hokej was invented by the Hussites in the bitterly cold winter of 1425 on the outskirts of their military camp at the small, now utterly forgotten town of Kned. Kned, as historians agree, was surrounded by ice at this time. Only the well-off leaders of the Hussite bands of warriors were allowed near the warmth of the food fires. The starving and increasingly desperate masses of devout peasants had to wait outside on the hard ice. They amused themselves while waiting by carving paddles in anticipation of the spring thaw when they could row their canoes again.
Food quickly ran low. The commanders became concerned, fearing starvation and a mutiny. A new food source must be found. After trying out various concoctions, cooking dirt, feathers, and rocks, they chanced on an important discovery. If you wad up bread dough and then boil it in water, you get something that can just barely be eaten. In honor of the place where they camped, they named this new “food” knedliky.
The first game of hokej broke out when the Hussite commanders tossed a piece of knedliky, hard as a rock, out onto the ice where the stick weilding peasants awaited in hunger. Later refinements included putting a net at each end of the ice. If one group of Hussites could put their piece of knedliky into the other side’s net, they would win points which they could redeem at a Sazka office or use to win lucrative endorsement contracts. Eventually referees were added to oversee the fighting and make sure that each group wore different colors while out on the ice. The tradition became so strong that eventually the Czech lands were famous throughout the world for their skill in this new sport. Up to this day Czechs are world famous for their hokej games, and their knedliky.