In the next couple of weeks, sports fans around the Czech Republic will be glued to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where competitors like speed skater Martina Sáblíková and the national ice hockey team will be going for gold. In Turin in 2006 the Czechs took four medals, while in Vancouver four years ago they picked up an impressive six. So does the Czech team have a medals target this time out? That was one of several questions I put to Jiří Kejval, the chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee.
Czech ice hockey goaltender Tomáš Vokoun is due to play for the first time since September after suffering from blood clots and undergoing emergency surgery. Vokoun, who is 37, will line up for Pittsburgh Penguins in a game on Wednesday, the club’s coach Dan Bylsma told a newspaper. Bylsma said the goalie had stopped taking blood thinning medication a week ago and would undergo tests after the match.
In Sports News: Czech tennis No. 1 Tomáš Berdych faces Spain’s David Ferrer at the Australian Open; figure skater Michal Březina finishes just outside of the medals at the European Figure Skating Championships; snowboarder Šárka Pančochová finishes fourth at World Snowboard Championships; hockey forward Aleš Hemský is to begin training following an ugly ankle injury.
Czech ice hockey coach Alois Hadamczik has called up such veterans as Jaromír Jágr and Petr Nedvěd for the country’s squad for the Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi next month. Seventeen players from the NHL have been included in the roster, with Tomáš Plekanec of Montreal Canadiens being named captain. It will be the fifth Olympics for Jágr, who has not ruled out playing a sixth in 2018, when he will be 46.
Czech hockey legend Karel Gut has died at the age of 86. As defenseman Gut scored 34 goals in 114 international games for Czechoslovakia and was named the best defenseman at the 1955 world championships. He won three bronze medals with the national team at major tournaments but became more successful as a coach. He was in charge of the national team from 1973-79, winning world titles in 1976 and '77 and a silver medal at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.
The Czech U-20 national hockey team lost to Finland 3:5 in the quarterfinal of the world junior championships in Sweden on Thursday, and has been eliminated from the tournament. The Czechs were one goal ahead after two periods but received three goals in the third. The Czech goals came from Dominik Simon, Martin Procházka and Radek Faksa.
The Czech under-20 hockey team lost to the Germans 0:3 at the World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden on Monday. This places him in the last place in Group A, just one point behind the German team. To make it into the quarterfinal, the Czech team will have to beat the Slovaks on Tuesday. They had an unexpected win against Canada on Sunday.