And now for something completely different, a Czech automaker is turning its attention to North America's National Hockey League. No, Skoda sadly isn't coming to the United States. It's actually the other way around as two NHL teams are currently in Europe for back-to-back games to open the 2022-23 regular season. San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators will duel on Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8 in Prague at the O2 Arena.
Skoda has been a long-time hockey supporter, having been an official partner of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship since 1992. For the NHL's ninth visit to Europe, the Volkswagen Group brand has decided to dress up two of its SUVs as mascots. Based on the Kodiaq, the four-wheeled mascot of the Nashville Predators is called "Prediaq" while the "Sharyaq" for the San José Sharks is an Enyaq iV. Yes, even the mascots follow Skoda’s naming scheme with all SUVs ending with the letter "q."
Skoda Sharyaq And Prediaq
Vítězslav Pelc, the Skoda employee responsible for these funky team mascots explains why these vehicles were chosen. The Mladá Boleslav-based marque decided to go with the two SUVs since they're similar in size and provide a contrast between combustion engines and all-electric drivetrains. Much like the Predators' jerseys, the Prediaq is mostly yellow while the Sharyaq is black and blue to echo the San José Sharks.
Aside from the eye-grabbing body decals, the Kodiaq and Enyaq iV use a 3D-printed flexible ribbed composite structure. It consists of polyurethane foam layered in varying hardness so that the fins, tail, and mane can "wiggle naturally," according to Plec. It’s an unexpected move on Skoda's part and a fun way to promote the brand during such a big event for NHL fans.
Skoda is no stranger to wacky concepts as students from the company’s vocational school have built some interesting one-offs over the years. From a Kodiaq pickup truck to a Sunroq SUV convertible, there have been some unconventional projects in recent times.