In ice hockey, Czech forward Martin Erat has signed a one year contract to play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with Russian club Omsk. The 34 year old, after 13 years competing in the NHL, has been without a club since the end of the last season when he played for Arizona. The new deal means that there will now be four Czech players on the Avangard Omsk roster. Erat was in the Czech squad at the World Championships being hosted by Prague and Ostrava earlier this year.
Close to two dozen ice hockey players from the NHL are due to attend informal meetings in Prague and Brno with the new Czech national team coach Vladimír Vůjtek and his assistants in the next two weeks. Vůjtek, who is 68, was appointed in June following the resignation of Vladimír Růžička, who has been accused of bribe taking. Among the NHL players set to meet his replacement in Prague on Monday is New Jersey’s Patrik Eliáš.
Czech hockey player Martin Ručinský has announced the end of his career, his club Litvínov informed on Thursday. The 44-year-old veteran forward and former NHL player holds three World Championship golds as well as Olympic Gold from Nagano. He has played altogether 12 seasons for his home club Litvínov, and helped the club clinch their first-ever Extraliga title this April. In his National Hockey League career, he tallied 612 points in 961 games. Ručinský could not represent the Czech Republic in the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague in May due to injury.
Czech ice hockey forward Dominik Simon announced late Wednesday that he had signed a three year agreement to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL. Simon leaves Czech ExtraLiga team Škoda Plzeň after a successful season with 19 goals and 14 assists. The 20-year-old caught the attention of the US club during his appearances for the Czech national side when he played in the recent World Championships, scoring one goal and providing five assists.
The schedule for the opening group games for the 2016 Ice Hockey World Championships were announced on Wednesday. The Czech Republic’s first game will be against championship hosts, Russia, in Moscow’s 12,000 seat ice palace arena on May 6. Sweden will play Latvia in the earlier game from the same group. Group B games will be staged at the second venue of St. Petersburg.
The Czech Ice Hockey Association says that its earnings from the recent world championships in May far exceeded its expectations. In the immediate aftermath of the championships, head of the association Tomáš Král said that he expected earnings to be several dozen million crowns. In fact, the first accounting estimate now puts the earnings at around 450 million crowns before tax. Ticket sales, which account for around three-quarters of income, surpassed expectations by around 25 percent.
Calgary Flames forward Jiří Hudler has been given the NHL’s Lady Byng Memorial trophy awarded to the player who demonstrates the best sportsman ship and gentlemanly conduct. The 31-year-old Czech received 700 points, and finished 52 points ahead of Pavel Datsuk of the Detroit Red Wings, who is a four-time winner of the trophy. Hudler was assessed just 14 penalty minutes over the whole season, which is the fewest among the League's top 20 scorers. Hudler is the first Czech to win the award, given out by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Vladimír Vůjtek Sr. is to replace Vladimir Ružička as the new national ice-hockey coach, the Czech Ice Hockey Association announced on Thursday. Vladimír Vůjtek Sr. is a head coach with 27 years of head coaching experience with teams in the Extraliga and in Russia with both the Russian Superleague and the KHL. The 68-year-old Vůjtek, who has coached the Slovak national ice hockey team since 2012, will get a year-long contract.
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