The origins of ice hockey in Hungary relate back to the sport of bandy-field hockey on ice. The country's first bandy team was formed in 1905 and the first public game was held in Budapest two years later. The appeal of bandy was reduced by the introduction of a new game -- 'Canadian' ice hockey. Hockey was introduced to Hungary by Englishman John Dunlop in 1925. The first real hockey game in the country was staged on December 26 of that year between BKE and a team from Vienna with the latter winning by a 1-0 score.
The Hungarian Winter Sports Federation was founded in 1908 and ice hockey was given a division within the federation. Hockey in Hungary is represented today by the Magyar Jegkorong Szovetseg -- Hungarian ice Hockey Federation. Hungary joined the International Ice Hockey Federation on January 24, 1927, and that same day the Hungarian National Team played its first game, losing 6-0 to Austria.
Hungary's first artificial ice rink was built outdoors at Budapest in 1926. At the European Championship in Vienna in 1927, the National Team finished last. Two years later, Hungary hosted the tournament during the bitterly cold winter of 1929 and by the 1930s the Hungarians became one of the top teams in Europe. In 1934, a touring Canadian team could only manage a scoreless tie against the Hungarian National squad in an exhibition match at Budapest. The Hungarians managed a 1-1 tie against the eventual gold medal-winning Canadian team at the 1938 World Championships in Prague. The big hero of the Hungarian team was goaltender Istvan Hircsak, who was considered one of the best in Europe at the time.
World War II stopped the development of hockey in Hungary for nearly 10 years, but interest in the game rose again by the late 1940s. In subsequent years, training methods were significantly improved by Czechoslovakian coach Vladimir Kominek, who led the Hungarian National Team between 1959 and 1964. The Hungarians were promoted to "B" Pool in 1964 but slipped back to "C" Pool five years later. Since that time the national team played chiefly at the "C" Pool level. In 1998 they hosted and won the tournament to earn promotion to "B" Pool. In 2000, they were back in "C" Pool and promptly won the gold at that level again.
The BKE Budapest team won the first four Hungarian championships from 1937-40. Cross town rivals BBTE and MTK emerged as competitors in the 1940's. The following decade BVM Budapest and Budapesti Kinizsi were the top clubs. Ujpest Dozsa won the national crown in 1958 and later won six straight titles from 1965-70 and four championships between 1985-88. FTC Budapest won three titles in the early 1960's and later captured ten consecutive championships from 1971-80. They remained a perennial contender into the 1990's. In 1996-97 Dunaferr Dunaujvaros won consecutive championships including one triumph over FTC.