Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rebuilding Sparta signs Foster and Bližňák

In an ongoing effort to rebuild from a disastrous 2010-11 campaign, HC Sparta Praha signed a couple of forwards with NHL experience, American Alex Foster and Slovak Mario Bližňák, on Tuesday.

Alex Foster. Photo:
"We need the squad to be balanced," said head coach Josef Jandač on the team's website. "We therefore signed Foster and Bližňák on the grounds that they are forwards who also know how to defend well. They can both be part of our offence and also play defensively."

26-year-old Foster was born in Canton, Michigan while his father, Dwight Foster, played for the Detroit Red Wings in the 1980s. His uncle, Wes Jarvis, also played in the NHL. The younger Foster attended Bowling Green University and was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006. He has spent the past five seasons in the Toronto organization, playing for the AHL's Toronto Marlies and 3 games with the Leafs in 2007-08.

Bližňák, 24, hails from Trenčín, Slovakia, but has played in Canada since the age of 18. He spent three seasons with the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants, where he was part of their 2007 Memorial Cup championship team.  He was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and has played professionally in that organization ever since. He played a total of 6 games for the Canucks, recording a goal, but the club's depth at centre has relegated him to the AHL's Manitoba Moose for the rest of that time. The signing comes despite the fact that the Canucks' season is not yet over; they are currently playing in the Stanley Cup Final.

Mario Bližňák. Photo:
The signings came a day after the club signed defencemen Jaroslav Kasík and Michal Sersen. Kasík is a Prague native who grew up in the Sparta organization, while Sersen is another Slovak who played two years in the QMJHL with the Rimouski Océanic and Québec Remparts.

The club's roster for 2011-12 is starting to come together after releasing nine players on April 7. Traditionally one of the strongest Czech clubs, Sparta had a disastrous 12th-place finish last season, which resulted in the shake up.

The first chance anybody might get to see the new players in Sparta crimson will be August 11, when they host Swedish club HV71 Jönköping on the opening day of the 2011 European Trophy.

No comments:

Post a Comment