Monday, February 27, 2012

Sparta wins Presidents' Trophy, Nedvěd scoring title's Petr Polák reviewed the final day of the Czech Extraliga regular season, Sunday. There was no suspense as to which team would finish first overall and win the Presidents' Trophy, but the two-horse scoring race went right down to the wire. 

The history of the Presidents' Trophy in the Czech Extraliga is short. It was established in 2009-10 and the first team awarded the trophy was Plzeň 1929. One year later it was Oceláři Třinec who grabbed it; the team which also got the cup for the playoff champion. This season, the award goes to Sparta Praha. Sparta demonstrated the best regular season record (27-8-10-7) and finished in first place with 107 points, 8 ahead of second-place Plzeň.

Jan Beneš,

Sparta Praha 2 - Slavia Praha 3 (SO)

It should have been a big-style celebration for Sparta. Although they knew they couldn't lose their hold on first place, they still wanted to lift the Presidents' Trophy after a victory over their biggest rival, Slavia. But although Sparta was in the lead until the 58th minute, Slavia tied the score and won the game in the shootout.

Brno 4 - Zlín 1

Zlín owned the chance to grab the last direct ticket to the quarterfinals in its hands before the game in Brno. Zlín would have finished no worse than sixth if the team earned any point. But if you give up two shorthanded goals during the first ten minutes of play, your chances of victory are much slimmer. With the victory, Brno earned eighth place and will start the preliminary round in their home arena. Zlín finishes seventh and has to fight for the quarterfinals in the best-of-five preliminary round.

Vítkovice 5 - Třinec 3

With Brno's victory over Zlín, Vítkovice earned an opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals directly instead of Zlín, but they had to defeat Třinec. After only 23 seconds of play, the first shot of the game ended up in Třinec's net. By the sixth minute it was 2-0, and the home fans started to think about an easy game. But Třinec made it 2-1 within 30 seconds and tied the score at three in the second period. The tie-breaking goal in this thriller came eleven minutes before the last horn from the stick of 39-year-old veteran Viktor Ujčík,  and then in the last minute Jiří Burger scored an empty-net goal to make it 5-3.

České Budějovice 2 - Kladno 1

Because Zlín lost the game in Brno, Kladno had a chance for a direct advancement to the quarterfinals as well as Vítkovice, but only if they won and Vítkovice lost to Třinec. Kladno blew a 1-0 third period lead and lost 2-1, thereby not having to watch the result of Vítkovice. With their fate alread decided before Sunday’s victory, České Budějovice goes to the quarterfinals directly. Kladno will fight in the preliminary round.

Pardubice 8 - Litvínov 2

Pardubice said goodbye to the regular season with a huge victory over Litvínov. Jan Kolář scored 4 points (3+1) and was the biggest star of the day. Pardubice climbed to third place and will play against Vítkovice in the quarterfinals, while Litvínov goes to the playout.

KarlovyVary 4 - Mladá Boleslav 2

This was the only game of the round in which neither team had a chance to make the playoffs. Both Karlovy Vary and Mladá Boleslav will participate in the playout and, because of that, this was a very important result in terms of the relegation round. The relegation round against the 1.liga winner will be played by the worst team in the league standings after the playout. At the moment, Mladá Boleslav is in that position.

Liberec 5 - Plzeň 3

Both teams, Liberec and Plzeň, knew where they would finish, so the most interesting question of the game was who would earn the trophy for winning the 2011-12 league scoring title. Would it be Petr Nedvěd of Liberec or Radek Duda of Plzeň? Both Nedvěd and Duda recorded one point, so the 2011-12 scoring champion of the Czech Extraliga regular season is Nedvěd with 61 points (24+37). Duda finished second with 59 (24+35).

Scoring champion Petr Nedvěd (top left) celebrates the win over Plzeň with his teammates.
Photo: Bořivoj Černý/FOTOFAK.

Final Standings 
# Club G W OWOLL GF:GA Pts
1HC Sparta Praha52278107163:109107
2HC Plzeň 192952267712181:14699
3HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice52235717175:13686
4Bílí Tygři Liberec521911517145:14084
5HC Mountfield České Budějovice52235420129:12783
6HC Vítkovice Steel52207322143:15077
7PSG Zlín521861018107:12576
8HC Kometa Brno52196621142:13775
9Rytiři Kladno52195721129:14074
10HC Oceláři Třinec52194821146:14373
11HC Energie Karlovy Vary52175624137:15467
12HC Slavia Praha52157723140:15866
13HC Verva Litvínov52149425138:17164
14BK Mladá Boleslav52164527120:15961

Note: The top six teams advance directly to the quarterfinals, while teams 7 through 10 play off for the other two quarterfinal berths.

Scoring Leaders 
#Player  Pos Team GP G A P PIM +/-
1.Petr NedvědFBílí Tygři Liberec48243660618
2.Radek DudaRWHC Plzeň 1929512434588419
3.Petr TonRWHC Sparta Praha512531562222
4.Jiří BurgerCHC Vítkovice Steel50213253375
5.Jan KovářFHC Plzeň 1929511732495015
6.Petr KoukalFHC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice501731484613
7.Jan KolářFHC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice512324473221
8.Petr TenkrátRWHC Sparta Praha51222547322
9.Viktor HüblCHC Verva Litvínov48202747528
10.Martin StrakaCHC Plzeň 192951173047209
Show all stats for season 2011-12

Statistics courtesy

Friday, February 10, 2012

U17: Finns edge Czechs in OT in Hradec Králové

Goalmouth action in Hradec Králové. Photo: Stanislav Souček,
On Thursday night at ČEZ Stadion in Hradec Králové, Finland got a goal from Joonas Lyytinen after only 17 seconds of overtime to beat the Czech Republic 4-3 at the U17 Four Nations Tournament. The Czechs got goals from Adam ZbořilDavid Pastrňák and Petr Vrána and René Svoboda made 25 saves in goal. Click here for a detailed recap of the game.

After one day of action, Sweden leads with three points, followed by Finland with two, the Czechs with one, and Russia is pointless. That's because earlier in the day, Sweden benefitted from three power-play goals in the second period to beat Russia 4-3. Click here for a detailed recap of the game.

On Saturday, Finland plays Russia at 15:00 CET, followed by the Czech Republic against Sweden at 18:30. For the full tournament schedule, team rosters, game photos, summaries and interviews in Czech and English, visit

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Czech youth national teams gear up

Another international break is upon us in European hockey and national teams in a variety of age categories have assembled for various tune-up tournaments. Of course, the highest profile event is the Euro Hockey Tour, in which the Czech national men's team is competing, but the Czech Republic has has U19, U18, U17 and U16 teams in competitions throughout the continent.

Pardubice's Marek Langhamer will be in Finland, trying
to earn a spot in the U18 Worlds in Brno.
The U19 team is at a five-team event in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. The tournament runs from February 8 to 12 and also includes Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Germany. The U19 age category does not have a championship, but these teams are assembled for the purpose of getting players ready to compete for roster spots at next year's World Junior Championship, which will be held in Ufa, Russia.

Six players were part of the U18 team that finished eighth at last year's World Championship in Dresden, Germany. They include defencemen, Tomáš Kvapil, who plays in Lulea, Sweden and the Slavia Praha duo of Štěpán Jeník and Antonín Růžička, as well as forwards  Tomáš Rousek and Michal Švihálek, both of České Budějovice, and Petr Koblasa of Karlovy Vary. Rousek and Švihálek were both on the initial 40-man roster for this year's U20 team, but didn't go any farther. Of course, the most notable U19 Czech players in Europe are Tomáš Hertl and Dmitrij Jaškin of Slavia, but they are both being rested.

The U18 tournament will probably get the most attention of the junior categories because the World Championships, which will be played in Brno and Znojmo, are coming up in April. Players in that tournament in Pori, Finland will be trying to earn spots on their respective rosters for that tournament, which will be augmented by North American juniors whose teams have been eliminated from the playoffs.

The Czech roster at this event will feature many of the same names that were at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August, such as goaltender Marek Langhamer, defenceman Ronald Knot, and forwards Jan Hudeček, Ondřej Slováček, Martin Matejček, Pavel Sedláček, Eustathio Soumelidis and Matěj Zadražil.

In addition to the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden, the USA will also be there, sending their National Development U18 team that will be a near rendition of the team they will send to Brno. Last year, this particular event was held in Hradec Králové, where the USA were a perfect 4-0, clinching first place with a victory over Finland on the final day. The Czechs finished fourth with a victory over Russia in the last game.

After hosting the U18s last year, Hradec Králové will host a U17 event this year, which will feature teams from the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden from Thursday to Saturday. Like the U19 level, there is no World Championship for the U17 age group, so this tournament is mostly about working toward next year's championship. As Czech coach Luděk Bukač Jr stated, "The goal is clear and it is the U18 World Championship for next season. We are already working with this team for the second year and everything we do is just for one tournament per year. There, players must "sell" themselves to us and capitalize on what they have learned over two years. We must give them a chance to gain experience in international hockey and then hope for success in the championship."

Of the calibre of hockey that fans in Hradec Králové can expect to see in the tournament, Budač said, "Youth hockey at this level provides a better spectacle than the NHL; fans will definitely not regret coming to watch this tournament."

However, for those unable to attend games in Hradec Králové, the events of the tournament can be followed on the tournament website at

As Budač stated, he is now in his second year working with his team. The U16 age group is also together, and are attending a four-team tournament in Sundsvall, Sweden.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

EHT resumes in Sweden, fierce competition for roster spots

The Euro Hockey Tour is an annual series of four tournaments hosted by the four top nations in European hockey, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic, at various points in the year. Its purpose is to give  European-based players some international experience and the opportunity to audition for coveted roster spots in the IIHF World Championships, which are held at the end of the year.

Often enemies on the ice, brothers Jan (#43) and Jakub (goalie)
Kovář will be teammates at the upcoming Oddset Hockey Games.
Photo: Slavomír Kubeš, MF DNES.
On Thursday, the third leg of the 2011-12 Tour, the Oddset Hockey Games, will begin in Stockholm and Helsinki, coincidentally the two cities that will co-host the next two World Championships. The Czech Republic will play Sweden that day, followed by Finland on Saturday and Russia on Sunday. All three of their games will be in the Swedish capital.

For this third tournament, the Czech roster features somewhat of a hybrid of the first two, with some new additions as well. The rosters for the first two tour stops were quite different, which was due to injuries and also to the fact that players from the three Czech teams that were competing in the Red Bull Salute the same weekend were not available. After going 0-3 at the Karjala Cup in November, the team finished second place at the Channel One Cup in December, and some strong performances in that tournament have resulted in return invitations.

One of those is in goal, where Tomáš Pöpperle, a substitution for Jakub Kovář, whose České Budějovice club was in the Red Bull Salute, was solid in a victory over Finland. This time around, Pöpperle and Kovař will form the goaltending duo, with Jakub Štěpánek, the team's starting goalie in the first two tournaments, being given the week off.

"We agreed that Jakub would play in two events, and then give an opportunity to Pöpperle and Kovař," explained coach Alois Hadamczik. Štěpánek is widely considered to be the best Czech goaltender outside the NHL, while Pöpperle and Kovař have consistently been the best in the domestic circuit over the past couple of seasons. Pöpperle has been spectacular this season for first-place Sparta Praha. With an NHL goaltender, possibly Tomáš Vokoun, Michal Neuwirth or Ondřej Pavelec, likely to take at least one roster spot in the final leg of the EHT, which will be played in Brno in April, and then the World Championships afterward, competition among goaltenders is fierce.

In fact, giving as many players as possible the chance to audition is a common theme: only defenceman Jakub Nakládal and forwards Petr Průcha, Zbyněk Irgl, Jakub Klepiš and Petr Hubáček are returning for a third go-around. Being given their first opportunities of the season are defencemen Michal Barinka and Jan Kolář and forwards Tomáš Netík, who spent most of the season with the KHL's Lev Poprad, Michal Vondrka, Jan Kolář (no relation to the defenceman of the same name on the team) and Jan Kovář, goaltender Jakub's younger brother.

Though the brothers Kovář have both worn Czech national colours before, this will be the first time that they will play together. "It's an experience not only for us but for the whole family," said Jakub. Meanwhile, Jan says that by playing together they "will fulfill (their) dream".

As is often the case, injuries are the cause of some of the absences, with defencemen Lukáš Krajiček, Miroslav Blaťak, Martin Škoula, Petr Čáslava and Filip Novák and forwards Roman Červenka and Petr Vrána all out with various ailments. Some of these are more precautionary than anything, with playoffs looming in various leagues. 

The captains of each previous team, Petr Nedvěd and Tomáš Rolinek, will both be on this team, with Rolinek retaining the captaincy from the Moscow tournament. In choosing the captain, Hadamczik said, "Petr is an experienced player looking forward to meeting everyone. He wants to play, whether captain or not. (Rolinek) has had success with the national team, so no need to change anything. Petr Nedvěd can certainly command respect with his experience and age."

He won't be captain this time, but Petr Nedvěd will once again play
for the Czech nats. Photo: Håkan Nordström, AP.
Nedvěd, 40, made news in November when he represented the Czech Republic for the first time since September 1996, and led the team with three goals in three games. "In Finland, I was pleasantly surprised that I could skate at that level. I was good enough for them, which is positive. Before that, I was not quite sure, because the speed and commitment at the higher level."

Currently the leading scorer in the Extraliga with 56 points, it would certainly be a story if he were to earn a spot in his first-ever World Championship. "It's not worth speculating about the World Championships right now. A lot of factors still have to be accounted for: how many players come from the NHL, how we do in the Extraliga with Liberec, and the like. Of course, I'll try. I'll give it my best and then we'll see what happens."

Below is the Czech roster for the 2011-12 for the Oddset Hockey Games, followed by the tournament schedule. The information, as well as quotes above, are courtesy The current Euro Hockey Tour standings are from


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


Ondřej Němec (Cherepovets, KHL), Michal Barinka (Fribourg, Switzerland), Zdeněk Kutlák (Ambri-Piotta, Switzerland), Jakub Nakládal (Ufa, KHL), Tomáš Mojžíš (Turku, Finland), Jakub Krejčík (HC Slavia Praha), Jan Kolář II (HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice).


Tomáš Rolinek (Magnitogorsk, KHL), Petr Průcha (St. Petersburg, KHL), Zbyněk Irgl (Minsk, KHL), Jakub Klepiš (Dynamo Moscow, KHL), Lukáš Kašpar, Kamil Kreps, Jiří Novotný (all Astana, KHL), Petr Hubáček (Jyväskylä, Finland), Tomáš Netík (Växjö, Sweden), Petr Nedvěd (Bílí Tygři Liberec), Michal Vondrka (HC Slavia Praha), Petr Koukal, Jan Kolář I (both HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice), Jan Kovář (HC Plzeň 1929).

Head Coach: Alois Hadamczik
Assistant Coach: Josef Paleček
General Manager: Slavomír Lener
Team Manager: Jan Černý
Video Coach: Jan Procházka
Team Doctor: Dr. Zdeněk Ziegelbauer
Physiotherapist: Michal Truc
Treasurer and Trainer: Zdeněk Šmíd
Trainer: Petr Ondráček
Media Consultant: Zdeněk Zikmund

Schedule for the 2012 Oddset Hockey Games:

Thursday, February 9:
17:30 Finland - Russia (Helsinki)
19:00 Sweden - Czech Republic (Stockholm, ČT4 Sport)

Saturday, February 11:
12:00 Czech Republic - Finland (Stockholm, ČT4 Sport)
16:30 Sweden - Russia (Stockholm, ČT4 Sport, tape-delayed to 20:40)

Sunday, February 12:
12:00 Czech Republic - Russia (Stockholm, ČT4 Sport)
15:30 Sweden - Finland (Stockholm, ČT4 Sport, tape-delayed to 19:20)

2011-12 Euro Hockey Tour Standings, after two of four events:

 # | Team            |  W | OW | OL |  L | GF:GA | Pts |
 1 | Russia          |  3 |  1 |  1 |  1 | 16:11 |  12 |
 2 | Sweden          |  3 |  0 |  0 |  3 | 16:19 |   9 |
 3 | Czech Republic  |  2 |  1 |  0 |  3 | 16:14 |   8 |
 4 | Finland         |  2 |  0 |  1 |  3 | 13:17 |   7 |

Monday, February 6, 2012

Brno hosts 2 international tournaments in April

April will be an exciting month for international hockey fans in Brno, and on Monday, ticket sales were opened for a pair of tournaments that will take place at Kajot Arena.

Highly-ranked Radek Faksa could possibly
be at the U18 World Championships in Brno.
Photo: OHL Images,
The first will be the IIHF U18 World Championships, which will be co-hosted by Brno and Znojmo from April 12 to 22. Brno will host Group A, featuring the host Czechs and Canada, Denmark, Finland and the USA. Znojmo will host Group B, which includes Germany, Latvia, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. Brno will also host the medal round, while the relegation round will be in Znojmo.

The tournament will feature some of the top players eligible for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The top European-based players born in 1994 or after should be available to play, while players in the Canadian Hockey League, North America's top tier of junior hockey, will only be available if their teams are out of playoff contention. Two of the most anticipated players will be Sweden's Filip Forsberg and USA's Jacob Trouba; the latter plays for the US National Development Team and not the CHL, so he will be available. The top '94-born Czech, Radek Faksa of the Kitchener Rangers, may or may not be there, but top domestic products Richard Nejezchleb, Martin Procházka, Ronald Knot, and goaltender Marek Langhamer should be.

With the more sought-after games being in Brno, tickets at Kajot Arena will naturally be more expensive than in Znojmo's Hostan Arena. During the group stage, day passes are available for CZK 150 seated or 100 standing. For the quarterfinals and semifinals, the price rises to 200 and 150, and for the final day of the tournament, which includes the bronze and gold-medal games, the prices are 250 seated and 150 standing. All day passes in Znojmo can be bought for CZK 100, seated or standing. For fans wishing to purchase tickets for the full tournament, the 17 games in Brno can be had for a total of CZK 1500, while all 14 games in Znojmo can be had for CZK 600.

To help people not familiar with the currency, CZK 100 equals approximately EUR 4 or USD/CAD 5.25. The tournament schedule, provided by the IIHF, can be seen here.

Just four days after the U18 championship ends, the top European national men's teams will invade Kajot Arena for the KajotBet Hockey Games, which will be the final event of the 2012 Euro Hockey Tour and the last tune-up for Europe's top four teams prior to the IIHF World Championships, which will be co-hosted by Helsinki and Stockholm this year. 

The Czechs hope to repeat last year's EHT victory in Brno.
On Thursday, April 26, the Czech Republic hosts Sweden. Tickets for the single game in Brno are CZK 390 seated and 250 standing. The other game of the day, between Finland and Russia, will be played in Russia. Then all four teams will be in Brno for Saturday and Sunday, with the arena hosting two games each day. For these days, the prices will be 590 and 390, and will be valid for both games per day.

"After last year's success and enthusiasm of all involved, we expect that this year there will be enormous interest in tickets. We would like to see again the stands full of fans cheering on the Czech national team, who will be defending last year's first-place finish," said Jana Obermajerová, chairman of BPA, which is the marketing partner for the Czech Ice Hockey Association. "Fans from Brno and the surrounding areas are  cordially invited to these games. And because we appreciate their support, we decided, despite the increase in taxes and other costs, to keep ticket prices at the same level as last year."

Of the four legs of the Euro Hockey Tour, the last one is always the most interesting, as the club rosters include NHL players and closely resemble the way the team's will look at the upcoming Worlds. Last year, Jaromír Jágr played his first international hockey of the season in Brno and led the tournament in scoring, giving Czech hockey fans a brief peek of the show he was about to put on in Bratislava

Tickets for both events are now available at Pages for the U18 World Championships are available in English and Czech, while for the KajotBet Hockey Games, there is only a Czech page. 

For those that cannot be in the Czech Republic's second city this April, Czech Hockey Report will be on location to provide coverage of both events in conjunction with official tournament outlets and

Friday, February 3, 2012

An eventful month for Duda

He makes news often enough, both on and off the ice, that the Czechs have an expression for him: "Radek Duda, hokej není nuda" (Radek Duda, hockey isn't boring). The month of January was anything but nuda for the Plzeň 1929 right winger.

Duda had plenty to celebrate on the ice in
January. Photo: Milan Podpera,
The month of December went pretty well for him, scoring 11 points in seven games to climb among the leading scorers in the Czech Extraliga. Then, after being held pointless in Plzeň's first game in January, a 5-2 win over Sparta on January 3, he recorded 16 points in the next eight games, with his best game being an awesome five-point performance in a 10-4 win over Liberec on January 15. His two goals and three assists that night thrust him past Petr Nedvěd, who had two points for Liberec in the same game, into the league-scoring lead. Late in the month, the see-saw battle between the two continued, as Nedvěd picked up five points in two games to re-take the lead.

His exploits earned him a nomination for January Player of the Month from Fan voting on Facebook is still open. The field of eight nominees from around Europe also includes Sparta Praha's Petr Tenkrat. (Click here to vote.)

But Duda's on-ice exploits are only part of the reason he's in the news. At the tail end of the month, a couple of incidents from the past have come to the forefront of Duda's life.

A year ago, he became the centre of a huge controversy when he was named as a suspect in a hit-and-run incident in Karlovy Vary. According to numerous reports, Duda nearly hit a pedestrian with his car in a crosswalk and then got out of his car and attacked the man. Facing up to three years in prison, on Monday, January 31, Duda was given a three-month suspended sentence and one year's probation. It is the second time that he has been convicted in a court of law for incidents stemming from apparent road rage; back in 2008, he was convicted of assaulting another driver in České Budějovice.

There have been other incidents as well, such as injuring a teen who threw snowballs at his team's bus in 2006, or even going back to 2002, when on his first tour of duty with Plzeň, he called Třinec coach Alois Hadamczik a "šišlavý Polák" (lisping Pole), a rather insensitive jab at the coach's way of speaking, which is marked by a strong Silesian accent and has also been affected by vocal-cord surgery. Now the coach of the national team, some are speculating that Hadamczik's omission of Duda from the Czech team's roster at the upcoming Oddset Hockey Games in Sweden stems from the incident ten years ago.

"I don't want to speak about it any further," was how Hadamczik responded to's Vaclav Jáchim. "For sure, Duda has some great advantages with his offensive game, but also some weaknesses in the defensive zone."

Apparently, Duda did recently make an attempt to reconcile with Hadamczik. "He called me, wanted to meet. I went to talk with him, which was a positive step, although his behavior towards me and some players was not adequate."

Hadamczik further said that would not close the door on Duda's inclusion on the Czech national team in future events, however.

A seventh-round draft pick of the Calgary Flames in 1999, Duda has always played with an edge on the ice, and that has served him well. That same edge has obviously caused problems away from it, however. Though months rarely seem to be boring for Duda, the combination of on- and off-ice news January 2012 was quite a bit even for him. It remains to be seen if February will be a bit more nuda for Duda.