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.
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on home ice on Monday night, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 2:0. Overall, the ‘Hawks took the series 4:2. The championship win is the team’s third in six years. The team’s Michal Rozsíval, who suffered an ugly ankle injury in the playoffs, will also receive a Stanley Cup ring. The famous trophy could travel to the Czech Republic later according to an unofficial tradition in which each player is allowed to have it for a day.
The Chicago Blackhawks are a win away from winning this year’s Stanley Cup. On Monday, the club faces the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series. Both teams have Czech players on the roster: Chicago has Michal Rozsival who played only part of the playoffs before suffering a broken ankle. A win by the Blackhawks would be their third victory in the playoffs since 2010. Tampa Bay, should they come back and win the series from 3-2 down, have two Czech players: forward Ondrej Palát and defenceman Andrej Šustr.
Czech hockey legend Jaromír Jágr, historian Jehudu Bauer and the grand-daughter of the shoe manufacturer Jan Antonin Bata, Dolores Liljana Bata are 12 personalities being awarded the 2015 Gratias Agit award for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad on Friday evening. The awards are presented by the Czech foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, at a special ceremony at Prague’s Černín Palace. The Gratias Agit awards have been presented annually since 1997.
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