Czechs hope camp is first step to WJC medal status

Tuesday, 12.04.2012 / 11:00 AM
By Mike G. Morreale

The Czech Ice Hockey Association would like nothing more than to see the country snap its disappointing string of appearances at the World Junior Championship.
After boasting back-to-back gold medals in 2000 and 2001, the Czechs have won just a single medal since then -- a bronze in 2005 -- and haven't finished higher than fifth the last seven tournaments.
The Czechs are hoping that changes at the 2013 WJC in Ufa, Russia, when they compete in Group A with defending gold-medalist Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Latvia.
The CIHA officially announced the 27-player roster attending selection camp next week that ultimately will determine the 23-man roster that will be submitted Dec. 23.
The selection camp will have seven returning players from last year's team that finished fifth. Their highlight victory was a 5-2 win against the United States in preliminary-round competition.
The returnees include defensemen David Musil of the Edmonton Oil Kings and Marek Hrbas of the Kamloops Blazers, and forwards Radek Faksa of the Kitchener Rangers, Tomas Hertl of HC Slavia Praha, Dmitrij Jaskin of the Moncton Wildcats, Tomas Hyka of Gatineau Olympiques and Lukas Sedlak of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.
Faksa, taken by the Dallas Stars with the 13th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, has produced seven goals and 24 points in 26 games for Kitchener this season. At the 2012 WJC, the 6-foot-3, 203-pound forward had two goals in six games.
Also attending the camp is 2013 NHL Draft prospect defenseman Jan Stencel of Czech club Vitkovice. Stencel (5-foot-9, 174 pounds) is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary ranking of skaters from the Czech Republic.