It wasn’t a shocker when Winnipeg Jets’ goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was named to the Czech Republic Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. Having his teammate and long-time friend Michael Frolik join him, however, makes the day even sweeter.
Pavelec was a part of the 2010 Czech roster that finished in 5th place, and has not created any doubt with his play in the NHL since then. Pavelec is the only NHL goaltender on the roster, with net-minders Alexander Salak (St. Petersburg, KHL) and Jakub Kovar (Yekaterinburg, Czech Elite League) also making the team. Pavelec is one of only four Czech goalies to suit up for an NHL team this year. The next closest Czech goaltender to Pavelec is Nashville’s Marek Mzanek, who has 7 wins this season, compared to Pavelec’s 11. Pavelec, born in Kladno, has represented the Czech Republic 5 separate times in his career, including the World Championship, World Junior Championship, and World U-18 Championship levels. During the 2012 NHL lockout, Pavelec played 14 games with the Czech club HC Bili Tygri. Pavelec has a career .906% save percentage and 2.96 GAA in 264 NHL games, all with the Jets franchise.
Frolik will be making his first appearance at the Olympics, after representing the Czech Republic in the World Championships, World Junior Championships, and World U18 championship. The 25-year old, also a native of Kladno, grew up as a childhood friend of Pavelec, and the two were teammates at the World Championships in 2011 and 2012. Frolik, who won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013 before getting traded to Winnipeg, has 9 goals and 24 points in his first 44 games with the Jets. Frolik will likely be a staple on the Czech’s penalty-kill, as he helped the Blackhawks in their Cup run on the special teams, as well as the Jets’ penalty-kill today.
Frolik and Pavelec will join a Czech squad that includes fellow NHL-ers such as Tomas Plekanec of Montreal, Ales Hemsky of Edmonton, Patrik Elias of New Jersey, and Jaromir Jagr of the Devils, who will play in his fifth Olympics.
Thanks for reading. For more Winnipeg Jets conversation and live game updates follow us on twitter @hkyattheforks.