Tuesday, March 27, 2012

U18 World Championship roster begins to take shape

While most Czech hockey fans have their attention focused on the Extraliga semifinals at the moment, the national U18 team gathered in Havlíčkův Brod to open a second, and more intensive, training camp in preparation for the World Championships, which they will host in Brno and Znojmo from April 12 to 22.

From a preliminary roster of 50, only 14 players were able to attend last week, as everybody else was still committed to their club teams. This week, the number is higher.

"We worked on drills for defencemen and forwards, two-on-twos, and other things," coach Jiří Veber said to hokej.cz's Vaclav Jáchim about the limited things he was able to do last week. "This Tuesday, we are up to 21."

It's unclear how many of the 21 at camp will make the final cut, but to be sure, the names that attract the most attention are still absent and may not arrive at all.

Marek Langhamer is expected to be the Czech U18
team's starting goalie in Brno. m.denik.cz.
The team's starting goaltender is expected to be Marek Langhamer, who is currently acting as the third-string goaltender on the Pardubice club that is still alive in the Extraliga playoffs. Pardubice currently leads its semifinal series 2-0 and the league finals will overlap the international tournament, but Langhamer will be allowed to join the U18 team, barring an injury to one of the two ahead of him on the depth chart.

Additionally, nine players are still active in the Junior Extraliga playoffs, but they will be over by the weekend.

While Langhamer's inclusion is a near certainty, the players who are currently involved in Canadian Hockey League playoffs are anything but that. Defencemen Petr Šidlík and Michal Plutnar and forwards Radek Faksa, Patrik Machač and Dominik Volek are all in the playoffs. If their clubs advance beyond the first round, they will not join the Czech team.

Defenceman Karel Plašíl of České Budějovice, who played in last August's Ivan Hlinka Tournament, has been out with an injured hand and is not currently in camp, but he might still return.

They will have a lot of last-minute decisions to make, but that's no different from most of the teams in the tournament, and Veber knew it coming in.

"It is what it is, I have no problem with that," he said. "We knew that we would have to prepare in the days before the start of the tournament."

On April 7, the team will play an exhibition game against the Czech U20 team in Havlíčkův Brod before heading to Brno. There, they will host Canada in a final pre-tournament game on April 9 before it gets underway on April 12. The next day, they will play their first game of the group stage against Norway.

In all, there are 50 players in consideration for the 23 spots:


Marek Langhamer (Pardubice), Patrik Polívka (Plzeň), Daniel Dolejš (Havíčkův Brod), Dominik Hrachovina (Tappara Tampere, Finland), Josef Sobotka (Liberec).


Lukáš Buchta (Zlín), Tomáš Prokop, Karel Plášil (both České Budějovice), Ronald Knot (Slavia Praha), Jan Košťálek (Sparta Praha), Martin Kokeš (Litvínov), Jakub Houfek (Plzeň), Dominik Tejnor, Radek Havel (both Chomutov), Marek Bail, Adam Hawlik, Jan Štencel (all Vítkovice), Jiří Běhal (Třinec), Jan Sedlák (Kometa Brno), Libor Šulák (Tatranští vlci, MHL), Petr Šidlík (Victoriaville, QMJHL), Michal Plutnar (Tri-City, WHL).


Dominik Kubalík, Roman Přikryl, Jan Schleiss
 (all Plzeň), Jan Hudeček, Ondřej Slováček, Patrik Zdráhal (all Vítkovice), Dominik Simon, Martin Procházka, Martin Matějček (all Sparta Praha), Richard Nejezchleb (Slavia Praha), Pavel Sedláček (Zlín), Matěj Zadražil, Vojtěch Tomeček (both Karlovy Vary), Matěj Psota, Adam Dlouhý (both Liberec), Ladislav Marek (Mladá Boleslav), Tomáš Franek (Třinec), Jiří Fronk (Chomutov), Jakub Vrána (Linköping, Sweden), Eustathios Soumelidis (Vaasa, Finland), Radek Faksa (Kitchener, OHL), Patrik Machač (Brampton, OHL), Dominik Volek (Regina, WHL), Adam Chlapík (Muskegon, USHL).

Team Manager: Jakub Petr
Head Coach: Jiří Veber
Assistant Coaches: Jakub Petr, Klas Östman
Goaltending Coach: Marek Novotný
Team Doctor: Dr. Daniel Waciakowski
Equipment Manager: Jaroslav Brabec

Preliminary rosters for some other teams have already been posted at the tournament's official website, http://www.u18wc2012.cz/eng/index.asp. The full tournament schedule and ticket information is also available there.

For updates, follow the tournament's official Twitter account, @czechhockey.

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