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Rucinsky named Czech Republic GM for World Cup

Prospal, Spacek join coaching staff; Fischer to be scouting director @NHLdotcom

Three players who helped the Czech Republic win the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics were named to the Team Czech Republic management staff for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey by the Czech Ice Hockey Association on Thursday.

Martin Rucinsky, who played 16 NHL seasons with eight teams, was named general manager.

Also from the 1998 Olympic team, which was the first tournament that included NHL players, are assistant to the general manager Milan Hnilicka and assistant coach Jaroslav Spacek.

Hnilicka was a goalie for parts of five NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers and Los Angeles Kings. He also was general manager of the Czech Republic team that finished fifth at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Spacek, who played 13 NHL seasons with seven teams, has been an assistant for the Czech Republic at the past two IIHF World Championships.

Jiri Fischer, director of player development for the Detroit Red Wings, was named head of scouting.

Former NHL player Vinny Prospal was also named an assistant on coach Josef Jandac's staff. Prospal played 16 seasons with seven teams and represented the Czech Republic at the 2006 Turin Olympics and at three World Championships.

Jiri Kalous will serve as an assistant coach, and Petr Jaros will be the goaltending coach. Vladimir Vujtek, who will coach the Czech Republic at the 2016 World Championship, has been given the option of joining the World Cup coaching staff as an assistant.

"World Cup takes place in Toronto and our opponents will be Canada and United States," Jandac told the Czech Ice Hockey Association website. "Therefore we have extended the team management with personalities who live [in North America] or have large amount of experience with local hockey. [Vinny] Prospal with Jaroslav Spacek had played lots of games in NHL as well as Martin Rucinsky, who finished his professional career just recently and is very close to all nomination candidates. Another member of the golden generation, Milan Hnilicka, will surely make good use of his experience he gained in the role of general manager of the Czech junior team. We allow for Jiri Fischer who is working for Detroit Red Wings to watch over preparation of the expected playing system of overseas teams."

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place at Air Canada Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17-Oct. 1. Team Czech Republic will play in Group A with Team Canada, Team Europe and Team USA. Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden and Team North America will be in Group B. All games will be televised by ESPN in the United States, and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

Training camps for all eight teams are expected to begin Sept. 4-5. Team Czech Republic is scheduled to play its first pre-tournament game Sept. 8 against Team Russia in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Team Czech Republic will announce a list of 16 players, including two goaltenders, on March 2.

"We consider the World Cup an exceptional challenge on the same level as Olympic tournament which is also reflected in extended team management," CIHA president Tomas Kral said. "Josef Jandac has chosen co-workers who guarantee leadership continuity as well as knowledge of [North American] hockey which can play a major role. His team includes personalities respected here and abroad. We expressed our intention to get as many excellent former players as possible before and I am glad that we are successful in fulfilling this intention."

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