In Sports News this Monday: Tomáš Berdych wins plaudits after reaching his first ever Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open – Czech pundits are hoping he can maintain that fine form at Wimbledon; doubles specialist Lukáš Dlouhý fails to make it two titles in two years in Paris; and ice hockey goaltender Dominik Hašek joins Spartak Moscow at the age of 45.
Czech hockey goalkeeper legend Dominik Hašek is set to sign a one-year contract with HC Spartak Moscow on Monday, the club’s general manager told the Russian daily newspaper Sovetsky Sport. 45-year-old Hašek, a two-time Stanley Cup winner and a gold medallist from the 1998 Nagano Olympics, won his third Czech hockey league title last season with HC Pardubice, becoming the oldest player to win the Czech hockey extraliga. Dominik Hašek won his first league title in the season 1986-87 with the same club.
The Czech Republic’s elite ice hockey league the Extraliga is in danger of losing its main sponsor, mobile phone operator Telefonica O2, Hospodářské noviny reported. The newspaper said the company was not planning to renew its contract with the league after three seasons of co-operation. Telefonica O2 has been offering live Extraliga games as part of its digital television services, but interest has reportedly been low.
The Russian sports newspaper Sovetsky Sport reported that the Czech ice hockey player Dominik Hašek is set to travel to Moscow in the next few days to sign a contract with Spartak Moscow. The 35-year-old goalkeeper, who won gold at the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, has not yet commented on speculations of his possible move to Spartak. His personal trainer said last week that Mr. Hašek was thinking about the offer but had not made a decision yet. The Czech goalkeeper returned from a one-year break last year, after ending his career at the NHL.
Jaromír Jagr, the Czech ice-hockey star, has pledged his support for the right-of-center Civic Democrats in the upcoming lower house elections due to take place over the weekend. On Wednesday, the leader of the party, Petr Nečas, said at a news conference that he appreciated the hockey player’s long lasting support for the Civic Democrats. He added that the party did not want to ride on the wave of Mr. Jagr’s popularity, but that rather, the hockey star’s support was a testimony to the values that the Civic Democrats promoted.
The Czech hockey team is fresh from its gold medal win at the World Championship in Germany, but many in the country are wondering what will come next for the national team. Ahead of the tournament, coach Vladimír Růžička promised he would be stepping down, handing the reins to his successor Alois Hadamczik. Curiously, it is the second time Růžička has won gold at the Worlds only to be followed by Hadamczik and there are a number of challenges that the new coach will face.
The Czech ice hockey forward Roman Červenka is leaving Slavia Prague to join compatriot Jaromír Jágr at Omsk. The most productive player in the Czech elite league last season has signed a two-year deal with the Russian club, it said on its website on Tuesday. Červenka, who is 24, was a member of the Czech squad that won the World Championship at the weekend. He had said he planned to move to the NHL, but received a more lucrative offer from Omsk.
In related news, the national hockey team touched down at Prague’s international airport on Monday 14 hours after beating Russia at the World Championship in Germany. The team was greeted by hundreds of fans who came out to show their support and congratulate the team on its success. Later, thousands more waved flags and cheered as the team arrived to greet fans at Prague’s Old Town Square. The Czech national squad was one of the biggest surprises in this year’s tournament, winning with only four players from the NHL, compared to more than 12 for Russia. The team also had to win five straight games in order to clinch the title, after doing poorly in the opening round and coming close to not qualifying for the quarterfinals for the first time in the country’s history. Both the quarterfinals and the semis went to penalty shots against Finland and Sweden, before the Czechs could face the tournament-favourites Russia.
The Czech Republic has won the World Championship in ice hockey, defeating Russia 2:1 on Sunday evening. It is the sixth time since the break-up of Czechoslovakia that the Czechs have won the title. The national team took the lead just 20 seconds into the game on a goal by Jakub Klepiš. Russia almost tied it in the first period, scoring a mere second after the buzzer had gone. In the second period, the Czechs’ Tomáš Rolinek made it 2:0, while in the third, Russia’s Pavel Datsyuk managed to score on the powerplay with 36 seconds remaining. But the Czechs were able to hold on for the win – their fifth straight in seven days. In the ceremony that followed, the gold medals were handed out by Czech President Václav Klaus.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey players have scored a victory that will live long in the memory, taking gold at the World Championship on Sunday night after a thrilling final win over Russia. A Czech squad featuring several relatively unknown players defied the odds to take the trophy – sending fans around the Czech Republic into ecstasy.
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