Washington Capitals players recently participated in a golf tournament in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. The annual tournament is held in honor of Ivan Hlinka, a great Czech player who had both played and coached for their national team for many years and one of the most important figures in Czech hockey history. Hlinka also played two seasons in the NHL and also had served as a head coach in the NHL. Hlinka died in an automobile accident near that town back in 2004.
Several NHL players were in attendance, including Jakub Vrana and Radko Gudas of the Washington Capitals, Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers, who was also a former teammate of Gudas, and Jiri Hrdina, who is now retired but played in the NHL for many years and for several teams.
Washington Capitals Radko Gudas is happy when he can play golf at all. “I’ve been playing it for about four or five years – I’ve been quite caught up in it. Now, with kids, it’s a little harder to do. But when it’s like this for a good cause, my family understands.”
Martin Ručinský, another former NHL player, recalled that Hlinka liked to play golf with the players he led on the national team. “He really liked to bet. We played a little bit. He enjoyed it and he really liked golf. He was second in influencing me as a dad, because he took me under his wing. We played golf together and had a lot of fun.” Hlinka had won a medal at the Nagano Olympics in 2006.
Jakub Voracek commented, “Every time I go to golf, I want to win, of course. But if it doesn’t work, there’s nothing I can do. It’s a recreational sport for me.”
The original story from the Ceska Televize site can be found here.
Additional photos from the event:
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Golfovy turnaj, memorial Ivana Hlinky v Karlovych Varech @golfresort_kvary #golf #memorialivanahlinky #ivanhlinky #karlovyvary #golfresort #golfresortkarlovyvary #golfresort #photosekanina #nhl #icehockey #hockeylegends #stanleycup #jirihrdina #jakubvoracek #caps #jakubvrana #radkogudas #jirislegr
Even with the golfing going on, the Czech players on the Caps have still found time and rinks to skate upon this week.
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Dnes parádní den plný motivace pro Tadu! Tolik úspěšných hokejistů na jednom místě a Tada moc nadšený! Pasta, Vránič, Kempný, Kaše a samozřejmě Vory 👍👍👍💪👌👏 #davidpastrnak #jakubvrana #jakubvoracek #michalkempny #davidkase #tada25 #icearena #paradniden #motivace #lifeisgood #icehockey
This golf tournament is not the only event held to honor Ivan Hlinka. There is generally an Under 18 tournament held in his honor during August, where the venue alternates between Alberta, Canada and either the Czech Republic or Slovakia. It is currently known as the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.
By Diane Doyle