When the National Hockey League announced on Friday they were making plans of returning to the 2026 Olympic Winter Games in Milan/Cortina d’Ampezzo and the 2030 Olympic Winter Games (location TBA), there was also an announcement made of having a four nations preparation tournament in 2025. The nations that are involved in the event are Canada, the United States, Sweden, and Finland. The exclusion of Russia is understandable due to the war in Ukraine. However, the exclusion of the Czech Republic deserves high criticism among all organizations responsible in preparing the event.
David Pastrnak Speaks Out
The Bruins star forward was not happy whatsoever about the Czech Republic’s exclusion. In an interview with Conor Ryan of boston.com, he stated the following:
“It’s a huge disappointment. Definitely not happy about it. I understand that it’s a quick turnaround. It’s next year. They probably didn’t have much time to make it a bigger tournament. But Czech isn’t there. So it’s always a lot of players left out, so I’m not gonna watch the tournament, to be honest. So just happy that the Olympics got accepted. Yeah, definitely stings a little bit.”
The Czech Republic won the gold medal in men’s hockey at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, and the bronze medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin. As Czechoslovakia, the nation won eight Olympic medals–four silver medals and four bronze medals. At the World Hockey Championships, Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia have won a combined total of 47 medals (27 more than the United States and 31 more than Finland). Then at the World Junior Hockey Championships, the Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia has won 16 medals, including two medals over the last two years. They reached the final in 2023, and won bronze in 2024.
Pastrnak is one of the game’s best
Pastrnak is third in scoring in the NHL. His 73 points is only behind Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon.