In Sports News this Monday: Czech ice hockey team ends year on high with triumph in Capital One Cup as Extraliga newcomer seize chance to impress; Soukalová returns to second place in biathlon World Cup after Slovenia win; and Kristýna Kolocová announces new beach volleyball partner.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey players have ended the year on a high after lifting the Channel One Cup in Moscow on Sunday. Coach Vladimír Vůjtek’s charges won the event – which is part of the four-nation Euro Hockey Tour – despite suffering a 0:3 defeat at the hands of Finland in their opening game on Thursday.
They did so thanks to a 3:1 win over Sweden and an equally impressive 4:2 victory over the hosts Russia. What’s more the Czechs’ greatest success of 2015 came with a squad that featured a number of newcomers from the domestic Extraliga.
Among them was Richard Jarůšek from Mladá Boleslav. He wasn’t even sure if he’d be playing in the Extraliga before the start of the season but scored his first international goal against the Russians on Sunday.
“It’s a big experience. Not everybody gets the chance to take part in such a tournament. There were great players here. For me it’s been an experience and I can learn from it.”
Captain Jan Kovář said he had been pleased to see Jarůšek and others seizing the opportunity they received in Moscow.
“It’s a great sign for Czech hockey that guys who are playing excellently in the Extraliga are also making a mark with the national team. I’m really delighted. After the first game against the Finns things weren’t looking good and I’m really glad we were able to lift ourselves up. It went well for us and we fought.”
Russia will also host the Ice Hockey World Championship in May. The Czechs triumphed in Moscow at the weekend without the key players Sobotka, Červenka and Salák, who can expect to be recalled in the New Year. And trainer Vůjtek is already looking ahead to May’s big event.
“We’ve tried out a lot of players. One or two could still appear. But we will more likely be making selections from among those who have played here and in the Karjala Tournament. Some players won’t be available because of the Euro Hockey Challenge. That will impact which players we call up.”
Gabriela Soukalová has returned to first place in the biathlon World Cup. The sharp-shooting Czech reclaimed top spot after finishing second in the women’s mass start event in Pokljuka in Slovenia on Sunday. Soukalová’s compatriot Veronika Vítková finished fourth in what was the eighth event in the 26-competition World Cup.
The well-known Czech beach volleyball player Kristýna Kolocová has a new partner, a few months after splitting with Markéta Sluková, so ending the popular “Kiki and Maki” partnership. Kolocová will now be performing alongside Michala Kvapilová, who is 25 and will end her career in regular volleyball at the end of the season. The new pairing will be trained by Lenka Háječková, who herself performed at the last Olympics in London.
Forgotten Czech net bag makes a comeback
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Wide range of events in store for Czechs this weekend as 30-year anniversary of Velvet Revolution reaches climax
Škoda unveils 4th-generation Octavia ahead of model’s 60th anniversary
15 years later – was ending military service right move for Czech Republic?