Czech youth hockey awards show recap

By Robert Neuhauser
On Friday, May, 17th, 2002, there was in Brno, Czech Republic the annual Czech youth
hockey award show held. All players are honored according to their stats, so the winners are known
already before the event. For every trophy there is only one candidate. Also this year’s
winners are among prospects who have a chance on a NHL future someday. So let’s have a look
who are the lucky ones!

Junior Extraleague

Best goaltender trophy: Lukas Plsek (HC Vsetin)
Stats: 39GP 2311MIN 2.21GAA .9288SVP

The athletic Vsetin juniors netminder finally grabbed the top goaltending honors after recording
another stellar season between the pipes. Last season he backstopped Vsetin to the junior
Extraleague finals, this season Vsetin juniors suffered an early playoff exit, but not thanks
to Plsek. He is a very quick goalie with exceptional reflexes, who relies on his athleticism
and a great net coverage despite having a size deficiency. Lukas plays the angles well and
is extremly tough to beat on all initial shots and also rebounds. Has just made the new Czech
Under-20 team of the 1983 born and expect him to stick with the team the whole season.

Best defenseman trophy: Vaclav Fiala (HC Keramika Plzen)
Stats: 35GP 16G 14A 30P 102PIM

A rugged blueliner, Vaclav Fiala connects both defensive savvy and and offensive contribution
in his play. This season he already made his senior Extraleague debut and is looking to
challenge for a regular spot with the Plzen seniors next season. This past season he anchored
the Plzen juniors defense, was using a mean streak in his game and the forwards could make
use of his strong outlet passing and deceptive puckhandling skills. Fiala was very efficient
on the powerplay and also didn’t shy away from the rough stuff. Was an overager this season
and look for him in the senior team as he isn’t headed North America.

Best forward trophy: Petr Koukal (HC Pojistovna Pardubice)
Stats: 44GP 31G 53A 84P 30 PIM

One of the winning Pardubice squad on the podium, flashy Petr Koukal went home with both
Best forward award and also the trophy for the Top playoff scorer.
Koukal probably sung his swan song among the
junior ranks, for the next season the 1982 born forward will be better served with a chance
to play full-time in the Div I league or even the senior Extraleague as a fourth-liner.
Petr Koukal was a terrific set-up player for star junior scorer Petr Prucha due to his
exceptional vision, smooth puckhandling skills and playmaking talent. Koukal skates well
and thrives on the powerplay, where his creativity shines. Albeit being more of a playmaker,
Koukal has a nose for the net, pity that that he lacks the needed size to survive NHL hockey.

Best goalscorer trophy: Petr Prucha (HC Pojistovna Pardubice)
Stats: 31GP 44G 30A 74P 18PIM

Had a breakthrough year this season when he stunned the junior Extraleague with his great
ability to succeed in one-on-one assaults and he regularly terrorised the goalies as he made
use of his knack for scoring goals. As the regular season neared the halfway mark, Petr
had nothing to prove on the junior level and got promoted to the senior team. He also performed
at the 2002 WJC and at the end of the season was assigned to the Div I league. Prucha could
turn lots of chances into goals, often they were prepared by playmaking whiz Petr Koukal.
Prucha is a typical finesse forward with great skating and stickhandling ability and the only
thing he lacks is size. Still, he looks to be a lock to perform full-time in the Div I league
at least next season and some NHL team can take a flyer on him in the later rounds of this year’s

Midget Extraleague

Best goaltender trophy: Marek Schwarz (HC Sparta Praha)
Stats: 51GP 3044MIN 1.95GAA .9258SVP

The Sparta Praha midgets netminder flourished in his second season in major midget hockey.
After arriving from Mlada Boleslav Schwarz established himself as the clear number one
in the net of Sparta and took also the junior national teams by storm as he performed
already for the Under-17 team even if he is 1986 born. Marek takes advantage of his
considerable smarts and very strong reflexes while playing a confident game. He plays a
efficient mix of stand-up and butterfly style and has a great dexterity. He likes to
challenge shooters and at this time is talked about as one of the top goalies the Czech
system has ever produced. Will be a blue-chipper for the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Best defenseman trophy: Lubomir Stach (HC Vsetin)
Stats: 48GP 15G 25A 40P 46PIM

The smallish Vsetin midgets defenseman has brought a great two-way game to the table this
past season which saw him averaging a point per game as a rearguard. Lubomir is a swift-skating
player with superb stickhandling ability and a knack for joining the rush at the right
time. He is a huge offensive threat and his talent is visible especially on powerplays.
Lubomir just needs to add some inches to his frame and learn how not to overhandle the puck.
Even if he is only 1986 born, he spent already his third season in the midget Extraleague
and is moving up to the junior ranks for the next season, which will be his underage junior

Best forward trophy: Jakub Petruzalek (HC Litvinov)
Stats: 45GP 45G 34A 79P 86PIM

The diminutive Litvinov midgets captain proved his nose for the net this season again and
this time there was no better forward than him in the midget Extraleague. It may sound a bit
crazy but Petruzalek is still waiting for a chance to prove his talent at the international
stage. He skates very well, has a great burst of speed and can shoot accurately on the
fly. Jakub handles his stick extremly well and is served very well with a playmaker on his
line. He is a dynamic forward and lots of his points were scored on the powerplay. If it
wasn’t for Jakub’s smallish frame and lack of defensive awareness, then he would be already
considered as a serious 2003 prospect.

Best goalscorer trophy: Kamil Vavra (HC Pojistovna Pardubice)
Stats: 52GP 46G 40A 86P 105PIM

Kamil Vavra was red-hot during the season which was scheduled to be his final in the midget
Extraleague. For the next season Kamil is no more eligible for midget hockey as he is a 1985
born and had a sniff with the junior team already this season. Along with Jakub Straus was
Kamil Vavra the best player of the midget team, creating a scoring duo simillar to the of
Petr Prucha-Petr Koukal on the junior team. Vavra is a very talented sniper and still can
prepare lots of chances. He takes advantage of his dedication to the sport, intensity, agile
skating and slick stickhandling. Vavra sees the ice well and due to the fact that he still
isn’t represented by an agent he may be a bit hidden, but he can be a darkhorse for 2003.