Czech Republic forward Ostap Safin takes a shot during practice at the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Dec. 13. Safin currently plays for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and is an Edmonton Oilers prospect. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Czech Republic team holds first practice in Nanaimo ahead of World Juniors

Czechs will play pre-tournament game against Slovakia on Dec. 19 at Frank Crane Arena

With the World Juniors just around the corner, Nanaimoites got their first look at one of the hockey teams.

The Czech Republic team held its first practice this morning, Dec. 13, at the Nanaimo Ice Centre in front of a couple of dozen people.

The Czechs are in Nanaimo preparing for the IIHF World Junior Championships, which takes place in Vancouver and Victoria starting Dec. 26. Team Czech Republic will also play a pre-tournament game against Slovakia on Dec. 19 at Nanaimo’s Frank Crane Arena.

In the meantime, the Czech Republic will be practising at the Nanaimo Ice Centre daily until Dec. 22. They will also hold one practice at Frank Crane Arena later tonight, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Slovakia will also be holding daily practices in Nanaimo between Dec. 16-20. Slovakia’s practice locations will alternate between Frank Crane Arena and Cliff McNabb. Their first practice will be on Dec. 16 at Frank Crane Arena at 5:45 p.m.

Both team’s practices are open to the public “upon the discretion of the coaches” according to the City of Nanaimo.

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Czech Republic goaltender Jiri Patera reacts after making a save during practice at the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Dec. 13. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

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