Friday, April 1, 2011

Czechs begin preparation for title defence at Worlds

On Friday, the Czech national men's team plays its first game in its month-long preparation for the 2011 World Championships. They take to the ice in the remote town of Gjövik, Norway for the first of two weekend games against the Norwegian national team; the first of three successive weekend series that are part of the Euro Hockey Challenge.

Czech players watch their flag being raised after winning the
2010 World Championship. Photo:
The roster that the Czechs will ice will probably bear little resemblance to the one that fans will see on April 30, when they begin the World tournament against Latvia in Bratislava. NHL players are still not available, nor are players on Extraliga or KHL teams still involved in their leagues' playoffs. The players who will wear the Czech colours this weekend in Norway will be trying to demonstrate to coach Alois Hadamczik and his staff why they deserve a spot on the final roster. For this reason, Hadamczik believes that the players will be well-motivated to play their best.

"Some are seeking nomination for the World Championship, yet others want to remain with us as long as possible. I believe that everyone will play their hardest. The team worked very well in practice, I was satisfied. I really liked the attitude. Everybody has been looking forward to the first game, they are feeling anxious." 

In last year's World Championship, Norway defeated the Czech Republic in the group stage, 3-2. Of course, the Czechs recovered from that setback and ultimately won the gold medal. Hadamczik knows these games won't be easy. "(The Norwegians) play very hard and aggressively. I don't know what the situation will be in Gjövik, but we have to be prepared, it won't be easy."

The list of players going to Norway includes five members of last year's championship team. They are defencemen Petr Čáslava and Ondřej Němec and forwards Petr Hubáček, Marek Kvapil, and Jiří Novotný.

More players should be available the weekend of April 8 and 9, when the Czechs play in Belarus for two more games. April 15 and 16, they will host Switzerland in Litvínov. By the time they arrive in Brno for the Czech Hockey Games April 21 to 24, all players in European leagues as well as NHLers who missed the playoffs will be available.

The team's last game before the start of the tournament will be against Canada at O2 Arena in Prague on April 27. 

From, here is the roster that the Czech national team will use for the two games in Norway, and the schedule leading up to the 2011 World Championships in Slovakia:


Jakub Kovář (HC Mountfield České Budějovice), Tomáš Pöpperle (HC Sparta Praha).


Petr Čáslava (CSKA Moscow, KHL), Ondřej Němec (
Severstal Cherepovets, KHL), Tomáš Mojžíš (Dynamo Minsk, KHL), Vladimír Sičák (Kärpät Oulu, Finland), František Ptáček (HC Mountfield České Budějovice), Lukáš Derner, David Štich (both Bílí Tygři Liberec), Jakub Nakládal (HC Eaton Pardubice).


Petr Průcha (SKA St. Petersburg, KHL), Jiří Novotný (Barys Astana, KHL), Josef Straka (Severstal Cherepovets, KHL), Petr Hubáček, Marek Kvapil, Radek Dlouhý (all HC Kometa Brno), Ivan Rachůnek (PSG Zlín), Jiří Šimánek, Milan Gulaš, Tomáš Mertl (all HC Moutfield České Budějovice), Lukáš Pech (HC Energie Karlovy Vary), Lukáš Vantuch (Bílí Tygři Liberec).

Head Coach: Alois Hadamczik
Assistant Coach: Josef Paleček

General Manager: Slavomír Lener
Team Manager: Martin Loukota
Video Coach: Jan Procházka 
Physician: Dr. Radomír Holíbka
Physiotherapist: Michal Truc
Masseurs: Zdeněk Šmíd, Petr Ondráček
Media Consultant: Jan Černý

In addition to the following games, the team will have practice sessions through the week in Prague and Brno.
Euro Hockey Challenge:

Fri, April 1: Norway - Czech Republic (Gjövik, 19:00)
at, April 2: Norway - Czech Republic (Gjövik, 15:00)

Fri, April 8: Belarus - Czech Republic (Minsk, 18:00)
Sat, April 9:
Belarus - Czech Republic (Bobruysk, 15:00)

Fri, April 15: Czech Republic - Switzerland (Litvínov, 17:30)
Sat, April 16:
Czech Republic - Switzerland (Litvínov, 17:30)

Czech Hockey Games:

Thu, April 21:
Czech Republic - Finland (Brno, 18:10)
Sat, April 23:
Czech Republic - Russia (Brno, 15:00)
Sat, April 23: Sweden - Finland (Brno, 19:00)
Sun, April 24: Russia - Finland (Brno, 14:00)
Sun, April 24:
Czech Republic - Sweden (Brno, 18:00)

Pre-Tournament Exhibition: 

Wed, April 27: Czech Republic - Canada (17:40, Prague)

IIHF World Championship, Group D:

Sat, April 30:
Czech Republic - Latvia (20:15, Bratislava)
Mon, May 2: Czech Republic - Denmark (16:15, Bratislava)
Wed, May 4: Czech Republic - Finland (20:15 Bratislava)

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