News & Features
Czech hockey is seemingly losing its talent, or at least that's what most recent drafts, except for the 2012 NHL Draft, seem to indicate. Despite that, the Czech Under-18 national team always manages to have a decent or better showing at the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, which is hosted by the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This year, the team went far and came home with a bronze medal, beating Sweden and Russia along the way.
In recent years, Sweden has sent several prospects to the NHL Draft, with a few of them being chosen in the first round. After producing such potentially great prospects as Mka Zibanejad, Filip Forsberg and Elias Lindholm in the past couple of drafts, Calgary-born son of Michael Nylander, William Nylander, is heading this year's Swedish draft class. The next big Swedish gun is not Swedish-born, but he definitely has a lot of Sweden in his veins.
Hailing from the Espoo Blues organization stationed right outside of Helsinki, the 6’1”, 180-pound left winger Waltteri Hopponen most recently represented Team Finland at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament that took place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Waltteri spoke to Hockey’s Future for a few moments after a 5-1 victory over Slovakia at the Ivan Hlinka.
Sweden is a hockey country that produces first-round draft prospects every year, with the 2014 draft class being no exception. Led by top-three prospect William Nylander Altelius, the son of former NHL forward Michael Nylander, there are more talented young guns coming out of Sweden and into the big league next year. Another of those rising Swedish stars is Adrian Kempe, who is currently considered first-round material and had a great showing at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
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