RALEIGH, N.C. (September 6, 2000) – Josef Vasicek and Jaroslav Svoboda headline a group of eight players who were invited to the Hurricanes Training Camp at the completion of the team’s Rookie Camp, which was held in Kitchener, Ontario from August 29 – September 4. The Hurricanes compiled a 2-1 record at the Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, placing second with victories over the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres.
Center Josef Vasicek has emerged as an exciting young prospect and could very well make the jump straight from junior hockey to the National Hockey League this season. Vasicek (6’6’’, 210 lbs.) scored the lone goal in a three-man shootout on Monday to beat the Rangers, and also had a goal in regulation against New York. A native of Havlickuv Brod in the Czech Republic, Vasicek scored 72 points (26g, 46a) in 54 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) last season. The 1998 Draft fourth-round draft pick, who will turn 20 on September 12, also served as the team captain for the Greyhounds, and was the first European player to ever serve as the captain of a Canadian Hockey League (CHL) team. The OHL is one of three branches of the CHL, which also includes the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and the Western Hockey League (WHL). Vasicek also starred for the Czech Republic at the 2000 World Junior Championships, leading the Czech squad to the Gold Medal with four points (1g, 3a) in the tournament.
Svoboda (6’2’’, 195) was also a member of the Gold Medal-winning Czech team at the 2000 World Junior Championships, totaling three points (1g, 2a) at the tournament. Svoboda proved at the Hurricanes Rookie Camp that he is capable of making the jump straight from junior hockey to the NHL as well. The 20-year-old left winger scored the winning goal in the Hurricanes’ 4-3 victory over the Sabres on Sunday on a blistering slap shot with the Hurricanes playing two-men down. Svoboda also assisted on Vasicek’s goal against the Rangers, as the two Czech forwards played together on the same forward line along with fellow Czech standout Tomas Kurka, a 2000 Hurricanes’ draft pick who was also invited to camp. Svoboda set personal career highs in his second season in the WHL last year, tallying 66 points (23g, 43a) in 56 games for the Kootenay Ice. Svoboda was Kootenay’s Player of the Month for April and was also named the Ice’s Outstanding Playoff Performer after notching 32 points (17g, 15a) in 28 playoff games. Svoboda completed his junior hockey career with 125 points (49g, 76a) in 110 games in the WHL.
Along with Vasicek and Svoboda, Niclas Wallin, Erik Cole, Tomas Kurka, Jeff Heerema, Brett Lysak, and Brent McDonald were invited Kitchener to Raleigh for the Hurricanes Professional Training Camp. Wallin, drafted in the fourth round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, played for Brynas Gavle of the Swedish League last season. Cole finished his career at Clarkson University by scoring 30 points (20g, 10a) in 33 games, and then completed the season with Cincinnati (IHL), notching seven points (4g, 3a) in nine games. Kurka, a native of the Czech Republic, totaled 64 points (35g, 28a) in 64 games for Plymouth (OHL) before being drafted by the Hurricanes with the 32nd overall pick in the 2000 draft. Heerema was Carolina’s top pick (11th overall) in the 1998 Draft, and spent last season with Sarnia (OHL), scoring 77 points (36g, 41a) in 67 games. Lysak was the Hurricanes’ second-round pick in the 1999 Draft, and totaled 78 points (38g, 40a) in 70 games for Regina (WHL) last season. McDonald notched 62 points (29g, 33a) for Spokane (WHL) last season, and was a 1998 Carolina Draft pick.
The Hurricanes Training Camp will be held at the Entertainment and Sports Arena, with the first on-ice sessions taking place from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 8. All Hurricanes Training Camp practices are open to the public at no cost. Sessions will take place at those same times on September 9, September 10, and September 12. A full-squad scrimmage will take place on September 13 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. The scrimmage is also open to the public at no cost.