NHL stars to bolster Czech hockey team for World Championship quarterfinals

Martin Nečas from Carolina will join the Czech team in Prague next week, while Boston's David Pastrňák and Pavel Zacha could soon follow.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 18.05.2024 13:58:00 (updated on 23.05.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

With a shutout win over Austria on Friday evening, the Czech Republic's national ice hockey team has officially secured a place in the quarterfinals of this year's IIHF World Championships, which are currently underway in Prague and Ostrava.

With two games remaining against Canada and winless Great Britain in the preliminary round, the Czech team is positioned to be a top seed going into the playoffs. Czechia has suffered only one overtime defeat to Switzerland against four victories, and currently leads Group A with Canada and Switzerland close behind. Sweden has dominated Group B thus far.

The Czech team is also set to get even better with the addition of NHL stars whose teams have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs in North America. Martin Nečas of the Carolina Hurricanes has confirmed to be joining the Czech team, with David Pastrňák and Pavel Zacha from the Boston Bruins likely to join him soon.

Both Carolina and Boston were both eliminated from Stanley Cup contention on Friday evening. As the IIHF World Championships runs concurrently with the playoffs in North America, the availability of NHL players is often limited during this time due to overlapping seasons.

Forward Nečas, who played a significant role in Carolina's Stanley Cup playoff campaign, will bolster the Czech team's attack at the World Championships. Having completed his sixth NHL season, Nečas previously expressed his willingness to join the Czech national team if Carolina was eliminated. On Friday evening, he confirmed he was on his way to Prague.

Nečas's addition adds depth to the Czech team, particularly in addressing power play deficiencies observed in earlier matches. His experience and scoring ability are expected to enhance the team's performance in crucial matches.

The potential inclusion of Boston's David Pastrňák and Pavel Zacha further strengthens the Czech team's lineup, through their addition is pending post-season procedures and medical examinations.

Right wing Pastrňák is one of the top players in the NHL, finishing the 2023-24 regular season fifth overall with 110 points (goals plus assists). The previous season, he tied Nikita Kucherov for third overall with 113 points.

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The national team's general manager Petr Nedvěd and assistant manager Martin Havlát will contact Pastrňák and Zacha today to confirm their participation. Going into the IIHF World Championships, the Czech team intentionally kept three roster spots open for Nečas and the duo from Boston.

The Czech team will play their penultimate preliminary game against Great Britain today at 8:20 p.m. before taking on Canada at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday. The quarterfinals will kick off in Prague and Ostrava from Thursday, May 23.

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