Slovakian WJC team

By Tomas Egry





7 players from Slovakia, two playing in Czech Republic, two playing in<br />USHL and eleven playing in CHL will represent Slovakia at upcoming WJC in<br />Finland


The
Slovakian team for the WJC is made up of seven players from the Slovakian
leagues, two playing in Czech Republic, two playing in USHL and eleven playing
in CHL. The team is a combination of players born in 1984 and 1985. The team
will try to continue the trend set last season when the U20 team finished fifth
and the U18 team (players born in 1985) won silver medals in Russia. Slovakia
plays in Group A against Russia, USA, Austria and Sweden.

 

Here are
short profiles of key players:

 

Jaroslav Halak            G         05/13/85                       5`11“               172       L         

Drafted by Montreal    9th round          2003    

Halak is
the key factor for the team`s success. In April he was excellent and led U18
team to silver medals. In the 2003 NHL Draft he was selected by Montreal
Canadiens in ninth round. Halak started this season in junior team of Slovan
Bratislava. In November when the men`s starting goalie was injured and his
backup goalie was on cold streak, Halak became No. 1 goalie in Slovan`s
Extraleague team. In total, he played in 11 games with 6 wins, 3 ties and only
one loss. He has 1.52 GAA and .945 save percentage. Later he was sent back to
his junior team to prepare for the WJC.

 

Andrej Meszaros         D          10/13/85                       6`2“                 189       R

2004 Draft Eligible

Meszaros
should be the leader of the team. He knows most of his teammates, because he
played at two U18 WJCs. In April he was the captain of the silver medal winning
team. This season he won his regular spot in Dukla Trencin`s Extraleague team.
He is rushing defenseman who can be a great power play quarterback. He reads the
play very well and intercepts a lot of passes in neutral zone. Meszaros is the
top 2004 draft eligible prospect out of Slovakia.

 

Ivan Baranka   D          05/19/85                       6`2“                 183       L

Drafted by NY Rangers           2nd round         2003

Baranka
was the highest Slovaka pick in 2003 NHL Draft when being selected by Rangers
in second round. He is playing his rookie season in the WHL for the Everrett
Silvertips. He is the key defenseman in the team`s inaugural season. Baranka
has great mobility for his size. He makes hard and accurate hits and also plays
great without the puck as he makes a lot of space for his teammates. He will
play in pairing with QMJHLer Milan Hruska as they did last year on the U18
team.

 

Richard Stehlik           D          06/22/84                       6`4“                 240       L

Drafted by Nashville               3rd round          2003

Stehlik
is the team`s captain and most experienced player. This will be his third WJC,
finishing eighth in 2002 and fifth in 2003. Stehlik started his second season
in Lewiston Maineiacs team in QMJHL (former Sherbrooke Castors). Before playing
in CHL he finished two seaons in Slovak Extraleague in his hometown team HK 36
Skalica. Only Marian Gaborik was younger when playing regularly in Slovak
Extraleague. Stehlik is an aggressive defenseman with hard shot from the point.
He was drafted by Predators in third round of 2003 NHL Draft.

 

Rastislav Spirko          RW      06/21/84                       5`9“                 175       R

Spirko
hasn`t been drafted by any NHL team, probably because of his size. He is
smallish forward with solid scoring touch. He is very creative player. Last
year he was rookie of the year in Slovak Extraleague and now plays in Tri City
Storm in USHL. Spirko leads the league with 20 goals in 26 games. He is the key
offensive player of this team.

 

Stefan Ruzicka            RW      02/17/85                       5`11“               189       R

Drafted by Philadelphia            3rd round          2003    

Ruzicka
is another offensive threat in this team. He is natural goal scorer. Being
selected by Flyers in the third round of NHL Draft, he decided to play in CHL.
After short time of adaptation he started to score goals and became team`s top
scoring forward. Ruzicka has natural scoring instinct and soft hands. He
controls the puck pretty well. He is point-per-game player. 

 

Complete roster

 


HALAK JAROSLAV
RACKO JOZEF


MTL/03/9




13 May 1985
30 Jan 1984


5′ 11″
6′ 0″


172
200


G
G


L
L






 
HRUSKA MILAN
MESZAROS ANDREJ
MUCHA JAN
SENKO JURAJ
LISKA JURAJ
GAVALIER MICHAL
BARANKA IVAN
STEHLIK RICHARD

 

 

 

2004

 

 

2004


NYR/03/2
NSH/03/3





26 Apr 1985
13 Oct 1985
11 Jan 1984
10 Oct 1984
03 Oct 1985
7 Jan 1984
19 May 1985
22 Jun 1984





6′ 0″
6′ 2″
5′ 11″
6′ 2″
6
’2’’
6′ 3.5″
6′ 2″
6′ 4″

 


185
189
183
207
190
214
183
240

 


D
D
D
D

D
D
D
D

L
R
L
L
L
L
L
L






BULIK TOMAS
HAJDUK PAVOL
POKRIVAC TOMAS
SPIRKO RASTISLAV
BALAZ VLADIMIR
LUKAC MICHAL
BLAHO STEFAN
FABRY BRANISLAV
KUTNY VLADIMIR
RUZICKA STEFAN
SAGAT MARTIN
TROLIGA TOMAS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYI/03/4
BUF/03/2
DET/03/8
PHI/03/3
TOR/03/3
STL/02/3


27 Aug 1985
11 Apr 1984
10 Oct 1984
21 Jun 1984
28 Jan 1984
26 Aug 1984
22 Jun 1985
15 Jan 1985
22 May 1985
17 Feb 1985
11 Nov 1984
24 Apr 1984


5′ 11″
6′ 0″
6′ 0″
5′ 8″
6′ 2.5″
5′ 11″
6′ 1″
6′ 0″
6′ 4″
5′ 11″
6′ 3″
6′ 3″


183
185
174
165
180
174
198
189
195
189
193
234


C
C
RW
RW
LW
C
RW
W
LW
W
LW
C


L
R
R
R
L
L
L
R
L
R
R
R