The Czech Republic filled out its staff for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey on Thursday with a bevy of familiar faces.
Leading the way is 16-year NHL veteran Martin Rucinsky, named the team’s general manager. Having only retired from professional hockey last year, Rucinsky, 44, is relatively inexperienced in the world of front office work, but will have plenty of help at his side.
Former Rangers, Thrashers and Kings goalie Milan Hnilicka has been named assistant GM, after constructing the Czech team that finished fifth at the World Juniors last month. The Czechs have also brought aboard former Red Wings d-man and Detroit’s current director of player development, Jiri Fischer, as their head scout.
On the bench, the Czech Republic also added members to head coach Josef Jandac’s staff.
Chief among the new assistant coaches is a pair of prominent ex-NHLers: Jaroslav Spacek, who played 13 years with seven teams, and Vinny Prospal, who spent 16 years in the NHL (also with seven teams).
Jiri Kalous, a longtime coach in the Czech Extraliga and KHL, will also serve as an assistant, while Petr Jaros will be the goalie coach.
“World Cup takes place in Toronto and our opponents will be Canada and United States,” Jandac told the Czech Ice Hockey Association website, per NHL.com. “Therefore we have extended the team management with personalities who live [in North America] or have large amount of experience with local hockey.
“Prospal with Jaroslav Spacek had played lots of games in NHL as well as Martin Rucinsky, who finished his professional career just recently and is very close to all nomination candidates. Another member of the golden generation, Milan Hnilicka, will surely make good use of his experience he gained in the role of general manager of the Czech junior team. We allow for Jiri Fischer who is working for Detroit Red Wings to watch over preparation of the expected playing system of overseas teams.”