WINNIPEG -- Ondrej Pavelec is the first Winnipeg Jets player to be officially named to a roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Pavelec will suit up for Czech Republic during the tournament, which runs from Sept. 17 – Oct. 1, 2016 in Toronto.
“I’m excited. It’s going to be a great tournament. The best players in the world are going to play. It’s great to be a part of it,” said Pavelec following today’s practice. “I had a few conversations with the GM and other goalies. It’s still six months away. But we know the little details and I’m sure as the tournament gets closer that we’re going to know more.”
The 28-year-old has worn his country’s colours numerous times through out his career. He’s been to four IIHF World Championship tournaments, two Olympics, and one IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
To this day, the gold medal Pavelec won with his teammates at the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championship is one of the netminder’s most cherished hockey memories.
“It was a few years ago and it’s a great memory. Those minutes after the final, it’s in my memories for sure,” he said. “Then when we came back and everyone was so happy. It’s special but this one is going to be different a little bit.”
His most recent international experience was this past summer when the World Championship was held in Prague, Czech Republic. Pavelec backstopped his team to the bronze medal game in front of the home crowd, and put up a 1.97 goals against average in the nine games he played.
“There’s 10 million people in Czech Republic and I’m pretty sure most of them will be watching the (World Cup) tournament,” said Pavelec. “It’s something special.”
Pavelec joins Jets head coach Paul Maurice at the event, where Maurice will serve as an assistant coach with Team Europe. Maurice says the event could be an advantage for the players taking part.
There’s always the opportunity for a great performance, which is a real confidence booster. A guy goes in and has a real big tournament, and they get to walk away feeling like they can play with the elite of the world,” said Maurice.
“They’ll go right to a World Cup camp early September. So by the time you get them back, they’ve been exposed to a real high level.”
The rosters for each team will continue to be announced throughout the day. Stay tuned to winnipegjets.com to find out which members of the Jets will join Maurice and Pavelec at the tournament!
-- Mitchell Clinton, WinnipegJets.com