Finland and the Czech Republic both announced their preliminary rosters for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships today. Their lists both feature a Rocket defender.
Libor Zabransky was invited to the Czech Republic preliminary team while rookie, Lassi Thomson was added to Finland’s.
Zabransky has represented the Czech Republic a handful of times, including most recently at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton and Red Deer this past August where he had four points (1G, 3A) in four games. So far this season he has suited up in 28 games for the Rockets, he has eight points (2G, 6A) and 28 penalty minutes.
“I’m super excited,” said Zabransky. “While it’s not the final lineup, I will work hard to hopefully get there. It will be a fun time with the boys from the Czech.”
Thomson is playing his first season with the Rockets; he was selected 53rd overall in the first round by Kelowna at the 2018 CHL Import Draft back in June. The right-handed puck-moving defenceman is sixth in rookie scoring in the Western Hockey League with 19 points (7G, 12A) and 20 penalty minutes in 28 games played.
“It’s so exciting,” said Thomson. “It’s always fun to play for Finland. I’m going to go and play hard in the couple games before and hopefully make the team.”
Before the final cuts are made, the national teams will play in Lordco’s Road To The World Juniors Pre Tournament. The Czech Republic will play Slovakia in Nanaimo on December 19th, 2018, and the United States in Langley on Dec. 22. Finland will play Denmark in Langley on Dec. 19, and Canada in Vancouver on Dec. 23.
Kelowna will also host a game on December 18th, when Russia and Sweden face off at Prospera Place. Tickets are on sale at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.
You can follow Zabransky and Thomson’s journey via our social media and on kelownarockets.com.
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