Thursday, December 19, 2013

Czech national junior team named, heads to Malmö

The 25-man roster has been set by Miroslav Přerost and his coaching staff -- 17 European-based players and eight from the CHL make up the Czech team that will head to the World Junior Championship, which starts December 26 in Malmö, Sweden.

Victoriaville Tigres captain Petr Šidlík will fulfill the same role for
Team Czech Republic at the upcoming World Junior
Championship. Photo:
The high percentage of European-based players on the team compared to recent years has surprised many people, and leads some to believe that there may be a resurgence of home-grown Czech talent. Přerost explained to that his decisions were made based on the players' performances at a recently-completed training camp in Rokycany.

"We had all the players for five or six days in camp, and the performance of the players from overseas were comparable with those of the local clubs. In certain respects, maybe even a little worse. It turns out that many players have made progress playing in the Czech Extraliga, so we decided to give them priority over before those from the Canadian junior leagues."

Furthermore, he explained: "The World Championship will be played on European-sized ice, and that also factored into our decision."

Here is the 25-man roster:

Goaltenders: Daniel Dolejš (HC Vítkovice Steel), Marek Langhamer (Medicine Hat, WHL), Dominik Hrachovina (Tappara Tampere, Finland).
Defencemen: Jan Štencel (HC Vítkovice Steel), Libor Šulák (Piráti Chomutov), Ronald Knot (HC Slavia Praha), Patrik Marcel (HC Škoda Plzeň), Jan Košťálek (Rimouski, QMJHL), Michal Plutnar (Tri-City, WHL), Petr Šidlík (Victoriaville, QMJHL), David Němeček (Saskatoon, WHL).
Forwards: Dominik Simon, Martin Procházka (both HC Sparta Praha), Ondřej Kaše, David Kämpf (both Piráti Chomutov), David Pastrňák (Södertälje, Sweden), Jakub Vrána (Linköping, Sweden), Pavel Zacha (Bílí Tygři Liberec), Richard Nejezchleb (Brandon, WHL), Dominik Volek (Red Deer, WHL), Radek Faksa (Kitchener, OHL), Vojtěch Tomeček, Jiří Fronk (both HC Energie Karlovy Vary), Patrik Machač (Rytíři Kladno), Pavel Sedláček (PSG Zlín).
The captain of the team is defenceman Petr Šidlík, one of five returnees from last year's squad in Ufa. Šidlík has played on Czech national teams for years and has really developed his physical game over the past few seasons. When asked about his style of leadership, he explained, "I'm not the type that storms into the dressing room and yells and screams. I want to lead by example on the ice."

"This year we don't have players like Hertl, Dima Jaškin, Sedlák and others that we had last year, but I believe that we can do well," he said, when asked of the team he will be leading. "We have to play as a team, and our hockey should be based on character and hard work." has compiled a list of which players have represented the Czech Republic at recent U20 and U18 World Championships, with Radek Faksa of the Kitchener Rangers being the only one to return to the World Juniors for a third go around:

U20 2013: Šidlík, Štencel, Vrána, Faksa, Tomeček
U20 2012: Faksa
U18 2013: Košťálek, Štencel, Němeček, Zacha, Pastrňák, Vrána, Kämpf, Kaše, Zdráhal
U18 2012: Langhamer, Hrachovina, Šidlík, Košťálek, Knot, Šulák, Štencel, Machač, Volek, Sedláček, Vrána, Procházka, Simon, Tomeček.
U18 2011: Šidlík, Faksa 
The team travels to southern Sweden today, and will play a pair of pre-tournament games before things begin for real next Thursday.

Pre-tournament schedule leading up to the World Junior Championship:
Dec 21: exhibition game vs Switzerland (Lund, 6pm)
Dec 23: exhibition game vs Norway (Landskrona, 6pm)
Group stage schedule at the World Junior Championship (all games in Malmö):
Dec 26: vs USA (5:30pm, ČT Sport)
Dec 28: vs Canada (5:30pm, ČT Sport)
Dec 30: vs Germany (1:30pm
, ČT Sport)Dec 31: vs Slovakia (1:30pm, ČT Sport)

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