Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian hockey scene has been stuck in the doldrums. Short of finance and lacking a national infrastructure, the domestic game has passed an entire generation of young Ukrainians by, but luckily the hockey tradition runs deep in this part of the world and efforts are finally being made to build up a viable Ukrainian hockey league. Local side Lviv Express are representing the city in the inaugural 2008-2009 season of the country’s Western Division, and they delighted fans in late December by getting their campaign off to a resounding start with a 14-4 thrashing of the division’s outsider whipping boys Vinitsia Patriots. There was little patriotic about the Vinnitsia side’s surrender to Lviv’s marauding forward line as the home side cruised to a comfortable home victory at the Medyk open-air ice rink. Lviv Express is the product of a union between the city’s two historically leading ice hockey teams, Lviv Hockey Club and Sokol Hockey. Lviv has a long history of hockey heroes, with the first recorded reference to a match taking place in the city coming from a 1904 Prague journal. Meanwhile, in 1932 Lviv players formed the core of the Polish side which took 4th place and just misse d out on a medal at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, America.