Slovakian forward Maxim Cajkovic carries the puck during a practice at Frank Crane Arena on Dec. 17. Slovakia will play the Czech Republic in an exhibition game on Dec. 19 in Nanaimo, ahead of the IIHF World Junior Championships, which begins on Boxing Day. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Team Slovakia takes to the ice in Nanaimo ahead of World Juniors

Slovaks to play pre-tournament game against the Czech Republic on Dec. 19 at Frank Crane Arena

Nanaimoites got their first look at the Slovakian World Junior hockey team this week.

Team Slovakia held its first practice in Nanaimo at Frank Crane Arena on Sunday, Dec. 16.

The Slovaks are in Nanaimo preparing for the IIHF World Junior Championships, which are being held in Vancouver and Victoria starting Dec. 26. Slovakia will also play a pre-tournament game against the Czech Republic tomorrow, Dec. 19, at Frank Crane Arena.

Monday’s practice saw 39 skaters and five goalies on the ice for Slovakia, including 17-year-old forward, Maxim Cajkovic, who plays for the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Cajkovic was drafted first overall by the Sea Dogs in the Canadian Hockey League’s import draft this year and is expected to be a high draft pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft.

Slovakia will hold daily practices in Nanaimo until Dec. 20, with their practice locations alternating between Frank Crane Arena and Cliff McNabb.

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

 

Slovakia defenceman Martin Kupec prepares to shoot on goaltender Jakub Kostelny during practice at Frank Crane Arena on Dec. 17. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Slovakian forward Maxim Cajkovic passes the puck during practice at Frank Crane Arena on Dec. 17. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

David Boldizar skates during practice at Frank Crane Arena on Dec. 17. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Slovakian forward Roman Milos gets ready to shoot on goaltender Jakub Kostelny during practice at Frank Crane Arena on Dec. 17. Milos plays for the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Slovakian forward Oliver Okuliar carries the puck during practice at Frank Crane Arena on Dec. 17. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Slovakian defenceman Michal Ivan. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Slovak defenceman Martin Fehervary gets ready to shoot during practice at Frank Crane Arena on Dec. 17. Fehervary was drafted 46th overall by the Washington Capitals in the 2018 NHL entry draft. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Slovakian forward Milos Kelemen. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

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