Sunday, October 1, 2023

A (not so) unlikely duo of Czechs in Montreal

(Toronto) When Dominika Lásková’s name was called at the LPHF draft, a mix of euphoria and surprise filled the room.

Posted yesterday at 9:36 p.m.

The euphoria was that of the group of Czech players present, excited to see one of their own be selected on the range. This is kind of what also fueled the almost general surprise, while the Canadian and American Olympians were still available.

However, Montreal set the tone by acquiring Lásková: four other Czechs were recruited in the 50 best. In particular, Tereza Vanišová, who will join her compatriot in the metropolis.

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To the casual observer, these choices may seem surprising. To the players present in Toronto it seemed much more natural, especially knowing that the Czechs are bronze medalists in the last two World Championships.

“We could see how well they played,” admitted Marie-Philip Poulin. I’m not surprised to see girls from all over (being recruited). »

A (Not So) Unlikely Duo Of Czechs In Montreal


Marie-Philip Poulin (center) chats with her new colleagues Tereza Vanišová and Dominika Lásková.

“The Czech Republic has a lot of discipline,” added goalkeeper Ann-Renée Desbiens. They work hard, cohesive and are very physical. I’m sure these two players will bring this aspect to Montreal. »

This “cohesion” is partly (and very much) Carla McLeod’s legacy. This Canadian, double Olympic gold medalist, she moved to the bench after the Vancouver Games in 2010. Two years ago she took over the Czech program. And the results were surprising.

“She is a great leader, I would follow her anywhere,” said Dominika Lásková. She is a great role model for me. Unfortunately, I will now be playing against her. »

Because yes, McLeod is in the LPHF today, after accepting the position of head coach of the Ottawa team.

“In the Czech Republic we don’t have an elite league, so players have to go into exile to play,” says Tereza Vanišová. So seeing how our national team is developing shows the extent to which Carla is achieving incredible things. »

Although Lásková and Vanišová played last season for the Toronto Six in the PHF, it was in the uniform of their native country that they attracted the attention of the Montreal team. General manager Danièle Sauvageau, who has been interested in the development of European athletes for years, explained that she especially appreciated the performance of her two new players against Canada and the United States in recent international matches.

For a long time

Today reunited in Montreal, Dominika Lásková and Tereza Vanisova have known each other since they were teenagers. The two followed each other at all levels of the national junior and then senior program. They crossed the Atlantic to study and play in the NCAA (in Merrimack and Maine, respectively) before ending up in Toronto.

The two embraced each other for a long time when Montreal drafted Vanišová in the seventh round.

“Of course we were surprised, but how lucky can we be! “exclaimed Vanišová, a forward who participated in last year’s PHF All-Star Game.

Both members of the Czech Olympic team, which participated in the Beijing 2022 Games, are proud to be able to promote European women’s hockey in Canada and the United States. “One day, these two countries will no longer play for gold! “Lásková predicted. This offensive defenseman, who also played offense in the PHF, describes herself as a playmaker who likes to distribute the puck.

Alternating between a serious, almost serious face and a radiant smile, she likes to look like the clown on her team. The one who bothers her colleagues to lighten the atmosphere. And she emphasizes to them, at times, “that we are here because we love this game more than anything.”

“I just want to make sure everyone remembers it,” he concludes.

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