The MOL Liga is the top hockey league in Hungary. Several of the clubs are located in neighbouring Romania and Slovakia, but all of them are within the historic boundaries of the Kingdom of Hungary, which just goes to show that old empires don't die, they reformulate themselves as sporting organizations. MOL, a Hungarian petrochemical company, is the league sponsor.
Each team plays a 42-game season stretching from September to February. Six teams make the playoffs. The Hungarian and Romanian clubs also participate in national championships in their home countries.
The clubs are:
DAB-Docler. The Steel Bulls. Founded in 1977. 6-time Hungarian champion, and twice MOL Liga winner. Colours: red, white and black. Their rink, Dunaújvárosi Jégcsarnok, holds 4,000. Dunaújváros is a steel town smack in the middle of Hungary.
Ferencvárosi TC. Founded 1928. 25-time Hungarian champion. Green and white. Pesterzsébeti Jégcsarnok in Budapest holds 1,500.
Miskolci JJSE. Ice Bears. Founded 1978. They play at Miskolc Ice Hall, capacity 1,304. Black, yellow and white. Miskolc is a steel town in northeast Hungary.
Újpesti TE. ÚTE for short. Founded 1955. 13-time Hungarian champion. Újpesti Jégcsarnok in Budapest holds 2,200. Purple and white.
ASC Corona 2010 Braşov. Wolves. From Brașov, Transylvania. Corona is an alternate name for the place, meaning crown. It was also known as Stalin City for a few years. The club was founded in 2007. They play at Brașov Olympic Ice Rink, capacity 2,000. Yellow and blue.
HSC Csíkszereda. Founded 1929. They play in 4,000-seat Lajos Vákár Ice Hall in Miercurea Ciuc in the Hungarian-speaking part of Transylvania. 15-time Romanian champion, and 2010-11 MOL Liga winner. Blue and white.
HK FTC Nové Zámky. 2013-14 MOL Liga champion. Founded in 1965, they played in the second-tier of Slovak hockey until 2008. The club's logo and colours (green, white, blue) are based on the coat of arms of Nové Zámky which depict the city's 17th-century fortifications. Their arena holds 3,000.
Debreceni HK. Founded 1989. Red, yellow, white and black. Their rink holds 500. Debrecen is the largest city in eastern Hungary.
Hungarian is one of those rare languages with its own name for ice hockey: jégkorong.
Today's game plan, copied from Jim Duffy's white board. Brechin are in red, Morton blue. Based on Yeats' "The Second Coming."
Morton revisit Brechin. Morton are in third place with 41 points; Brechin in fourth with 35. Brechin lead the season series with a win and a draw. Can you say "season series" in fitba?
Morton are out of the Challenge Cup, the League Cup and the Scottish Cup for this year. There is some consolation in losing out to the eventual cup winner, though. When has that happened in this century?
2012-13 Challenge Cup Second Round, Queen of the South beat Morton 1 - 2.
2010-11 Challenge Cup Second Round, Ross County beat Morton 3 - 1.
2007-08 Challenge Cup Semi-Final, St Johnstone beat Morton 1 - 3.
2005-06 Challenge Cup Semi-Final, St Mirren beat Morton 4 - 2 on penalty kicks.
2002-03 Challenge Cup Second Round, Queen of the South beat Morton 1 - 0.
Could it happen this year? Yes. Alloa Athletic are in the Challenge Cup final, and Spartans are still alive in the Scottish Cup.
Last weekend Raith Rovers knocked Rangers out of the Scottish Cup. Add that to last year's Challenge Cup final when Raith Rovers defeated Rangers and you have got to admit that looked at rationally, on the evidence, the world is ending.
Julianne Moore's mother is from Greenock.
[FT: Brechin 1 - 1 Morton. Goal by Caldwell. Morton lose ground to Stranraer. The schedule is two-thirds done.]
It's the Scottish Junior Cup, Fifth Round. Let's watch:
Auchinleck Talbot [1 - 1] Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.
Auchinleck Talbot eliminated Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in the 2011-12 semifinals.