World Selects – Czech Knights
Posted April 25th, 2022
European Team Has Proven Success At The 2007 Age Group
The last time the Czech Knights came across the Atlantic for an international tournament, they brought gold back with them.
Two years ago, standout ‘07s Adam Benak and Vaclav Raichl dominated the U13 PeeWee Quebec International Tournament, as the Knights went 5-1-0 against teams from Quebec, Ontario and Wisconsin. They made it all the way to championship Sunday, where the Knights defeated the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers 3-0 as the best team at one of the most iconic tournaments in youth hockey.
Today, that group returns stateside — with Benak and Raichl, as well as many other top players from Czech — with their sights set on winning another historic tournament in the sport; the 15U World Selects Trophy in Nashville.
The Knights will be among a half-dozen European-based programs traveling abroad to compete in the international event. They could certainly be considered one of the early favorites to win the entire tournament as well.
Benak is already a member of the Czech U16 national team. He is a fantastic skater with a high hockey IQ and can single-handedly change the flow of the game. The 5-foot-6 forward did so at the 2020 PeeWee Quebec, as the leading scorer of the tournament and continues to impress this season. Playing against opponents one and two years older than him, Benak led his U17 HC Plzen squad in scoring with 31 goals and 64 points in 34 games.
Raichl is strong at both ends of the ice and has a knack for creating offensive plays with each shift; a proven playmaker for U17 HC Litvinov. Jan Chovan is a Slovakian-born forward who currently plays U16 in Finland. He scored 16 goals and 45 points for Tappara.
The Czech Knights are a selects program that has previously competed in the World Selects tournament series under the Czech Selects name. Peter Jonak is the program director and his teams have won a WSI elite tournament on three separate occasions in 2011, 2015, and 2018. None of those championships came at the 15U age group, though, so Benak, Raichl and Chovan will look to add another accomplishment to the Czech trophy case.
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