Arrival of the Czech hockey team from the World Championships in Riga and Tampere, May 26, 2023, Prague. Striker Dominik Kubalík.
Prague – Czech hockey players have returned from the world championship. In a mood that contrasted sharply with last year's return from Tampere and the euphoria of winning bronze and ending a ten-year wait for a medal at a major event. The great disappointment of Thursday's elimination after an unsuccessful quarter-final match with the USA still lingered throughout the campaign. Also because of the short time that has passed since the 0:3 defeat.
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“The disappointment is definitely not gone yet. It doesn't happen that quickly. It's of course unpleasant, but now there's no going back and it's the way it is. There's no need to lie to yourself – of course the championship wasn't successful. Probably like always when you lose in quarterfinals,” captain Roman Červenka told reporters. “Does this show something about Czech hockey? Maybe something, yes. But last year there was bronze, this year it didn't work out, it doesn't mean that there can't be a medal next time.”
Another striker Jiří Černoch had to absorb the unsuccessful performance at the World Cup in the premiere. “Of course, the disappointment hasn't passed yet… Getting out in the quarter-finals sucks, but unfortunately. It's my second World Championship, and last year I won a medal at my first participation. You kind of believe that it will happen again. The disappointment is huge. When you know what a medal tastes like and you've experienced all that euphoria, the disappointment is even greater now,” admitted Černoch.
“Freshly after elimination, it's better not to dig into it like that, because you have emotions. It's better to analyze these things with time,” said goalkeeper Karel Vejmelka. “What did we lag behind in? Movement and then winning small battles, creating chances. We didn't have as many as we needed,” Vejmelka listed the main reasons.
Coach Kari Jalonen had his head busy thinking about the reasons for the failure long after the game. “I didn't sleep well. I still have to evaluate and analyze everything. But it will take some time. Right now, I don't have many answers to the questions,” he admitted. “However, I have the feeling that as the team goes through a certain process and grows during the tournament, our growth stopped after the injuries to Sedlák and Chytil,” Jalonen added.
“I think that everyone was I have some analysis in my head, but it's not even 24 hours after the match… The analysis is simple in the sense that it's definitely a failure and you can't find many positive things in our result and how it all turned out. The goal was to get through the quarterfinals and then fight on, but we didn't succeed. I think it doesn't matter if you're fifth or eighth,” stated general manager Martin Havlát.
The future of coach Jalonen on the national team will be a big topic in the near future. The experienced Finn still has a contract for next season, but the head of the association Alois Hadamczik indicated that the management of Czech hockey will deal with the situation. Hadamczik wants an explanation from Jalonen as to why creativity, courage, will and combativeness were lacking. According to him, the Czechs must play a different style of hockey at the next World Cup.
“Last year bronze and everyone was happy, this year it didn't work out. The team was obviously different. I think Kari is a good coach, a good person and makes the best decisions as he feels at the moment. On the ice it's about the players, not the coach “, supported the current coach Červenka. He thus joined the star David Pastrňák, who played under Fin at last year's World Cup and made it clear that Jalonen should stay with the team.
The striker Černoch also spoke about Jalonen in a similar vein. “Of course, it's not up to me to lead the national team. However, I certainly can't say a bad word about Karim. I really like him as a coach, for me he's a great coach and a great person. But now it's not up to us what happens next ,” noted Černoch.
Vejmelka also evaluates Jalonen's contribution positively. “After all, he made a big success in the last two seasons, when we reached bronze last year. Now, of course, it is evaluated worse, but I definitely wouldn't say that it is only his fault. It is mainly the fault of us, the players who are on the ice . Sometimes it is possible to fulfill his instructions to the maximum, other times not. I think the fault is mainly on our side,” the goalkeeper declared.