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Michalek to Skate for Czech Republic at World Championships

Friday, 04.29.2011 / 2:56 PM / Features
By Tony Jovenitti
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Michalek to Skate for Czech Republic at World Championships
Zbynek Michalek will join the Czech Republic national team at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championships, taking place April 29 to May 15 in Kosice, Slovakia.

“I take a lot of pride playing for my national team,” Michalek said. “It’s something special.”

Michalek became the second Penguin to be named to a world championship roster, as James Neal was added to Team Canada early on Friday. Michalek said he’s excited to keep playing hockey during the summer.

“Obviously, it should be a fun tournament,” he said. “We have a pretty good team and we want to win the gold. Hopefully, I’m one piece of the puzzle that can help the team do well.”

Another piece of that puzzle for the Czech Republic is Michalek’s brother, Milan, who plays left wing for the Ottawa Senators.

“It brings back real good memories growing up and playing together,” Zbynek said. “When we were growing up, we were watching the national team play in the world championships as kids, dreaming of playing there one day. Now, we’re there and on the same team.”

Michalek stressed how international hockey is very different from the NHL.

“It’s a bigger ice surface,” he said. “A lot of the guys that play in Europe play a different style of hockey. It’s something different, but I guess you get better playing in different styles and situations.”

But Michalek is no stranger to the international game. He’s played in three previous world championships, and he laced up for the Czech Republic in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Throughout the four times he’s played for the Czech Republic on an international stage, Michalek has notched four points (3G-1A). He’s hoping to continue that success over the next few weeks.

“Hopefully, I can end the season on a good note,” he said.
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