Hamara and Sapovaliv named to Czechia’s preliminary roster for 2023 World Juniors


The Czech Ice Hockey Association announced its preliminary roster for the 2023 World Juniors on Monday, with OHL players Tomas Hamara of the Kitchener Rangers and Matyas Sapovaliv of the Saginaw Spirit among the 27 players named.

A third round pick of the Ottawa Senators this past summer, Hamara has produced 11 points (2-9–11) in 24 games on the Kitchener blue line this season. The 18-year-old from Prague was selected by the Rangers with their first round (26th overall) pick in the 2022 CHL Import Draft. Hamara represented Czechia at the 2022 World Juniors in August, recording an assist in seven games. He’s also suited up for Czechia twice at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship, being named to the tournament all-star team in 2022 with eight assists in six contests.

A 6-foot-3, 190Ib. centreman from Kladno, Sapovaliv has 30 points (11-19–30) in as many games in his sophomore season in Saginaw. He was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round (48th overall) this past summer following a 52-point (18-34–52) rookie season with the Spirit. Sapovaliv, who is a 52 percent faceoff man with Saginaw this season, was the club’s first round (15th overall) pick in the 2021 CHL Import Draft. He had two goals in seven games with Czechia’s national junior team at the 2022 World Juniors in August, and has appeared in a pair of World Under-18 Hockey Championships with his home country.

Czechia begins the 2023 World Juniors against Canada on Boxing Day.

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