Fewest Czechs since 2016
Before this year’s draft, Sport.cz tipped 7-9 Czech hopefuls, whose names will be heard in the Bridgestone Arena. In the end, it was the seven Czechs, which is the least since 2016, when the quartet Libor Hájek, Filip Hronek, Vojtěch Budík, Filip Helt was selected. This year, for example, neither goalkeeper Tomáš Suchánek nor his national team teammate Gabriel Szturc made it to the silver medalists from the under-20 World Cup.
Together in Hradec, together with the Canadiens
If you were lucky, you could meet the Xhekaj siblings a few years ago under the White Tower in Hradec Králové, where they have relatives. The sons of an Albanian father and a Czech mother can now also meet together in the NHL. For the undrafted Arber, who became a favorite of Montreal fans last season thanks to his fearless style and ability to win battles, the Canadiens selected his brother Florian, who played in Hamilton in the OHL, from the 101st pick. The Ontario junior competition delivered the most players to this year’s draft – 35.
Bonk also reminded me of Dad with a mullet
29 years ago, Radek Bonk was drafted in Hartford as a three, and his photos from that time show that the ‘Jagro’ mullet was at the height of its popularity. Bonk’s son Oliver, who was selected by Philadelphia in the 22nd position, also recalled the old-school hairstyle in the style of ‘business on top, party on the back’. “I wanted to do it as a tribute to my dad. I tried my best,” claimed the 18-year-old defender born in Canada. “It was nice of my son, but of course my haircut was better,” said Bonk senior.
“I have to agree tho, mine was way better. It was a sick salad.” – Radek Bonk on his mullet compared to Oliver’s mullet. 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/RAxeaQM3EM
— SENS TALK (@senstalk_) June 29, 2023
Czech-Slovak clique in Chicago
Chicago’s choice of Connor Bedard from the first place overshadowed the other selections of the Blackhawks, who, however, significantly bet on the Czech-Slovak team. In the second round, he chose goalkeeper Adam Gajan and striker Martin Mišiak at the new address of the Canadian super talent. In the third and fifth rounds, they were joined by the Czech pair of forwards Jiří Felcman and Marcel Marcel, whose choice in Chicago they jokingly added with the phrase: ‘That’s our pick pick’.
The Italian hockey players were relegated from the elite community of the World Cup last year and did not fight for a return in Group IA this year. But in Nashville, the country where football is a religion, celebrated an unexpected cut. Goalkeeper Damian Clara, who plays for the Swedish junior team Färjestad, was drafted at the end of the second round by Anaheim in the 60th place. He thus surpassed the Italian maximum from 2011, when Daniel Catenacci was selected by Buffalo in 77th place.