EVERETT – It appears that the Everett Silvertips will be doubling up at the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championships.
Everett left wing Karel Hromas has been invited to try out for the Czech Republic for the tournament, which pits the world’s top U-20 teams on Dec. 25-Jan.4 in Grand Forks, N.D., and Thief River Falls, Minn.
“I’m so happy,” Hromas said, with the aid of translator Ivan Baranka. “I’m proud to play for the Czech Republic. I hope I will get to go.”
The 18-year-old Hromas, who has nine goals and four assists for Everett this season, will be leaving for tryouts on Wednesday, meaning he will miss the Silvertips’ final three games before the Christmas break.
Though he still has to try out, Hromas is a probable selection to the team. He’s one of the few returning players from the Czech team that finished fourth at the 2004 World Juniors in Finland.
Hromas is looking forward to the opportunity to go back to the World Juniors.
“It’s a chance to see a lot of my friends,” Hromas said.
“We’re about the same,” Hromas added about the Czech Republic’s chances. “We have a good team, but Canada and the U.S. and Russia are so good.”
Hromas’ selection would give Everett two players at the 2005 World Juniors. Baranka, a 19-year-old defenseman, has been selected to play for Slovakia.
“The two European guys are very deserving,” Everett general manager Doug Soetaert said. “They’re highly skilled and we’re proud of them. They’re a big part of this hockey club and it shows the caliber of play we have here.”
Should Hromas be selected, it would mean Everett would start the second half of the season minus seven players. In addition to Hromas and Baranka, forwards Zach Hamill, Brady Calla and Brennan Zasitko, defenseman Jonathan Harty and goaltender Leland Irving will be playing for various teams at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge on Dec. 28-Jan. 4 in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Everett has owned Portland this season. The Silvertips (17-8-3-2) have won four of their five meetings with the Winter Hawks (14-12-1-3) this season, including both games in Portland.
Portland’s captain, 19-year-old defenseman Braydon Coburn (five goals, 16 assists), should be in the lineup before heading to tryouts for Canada’s team for the World Juniors. Nineteen-year-olds Dan Da Silva (14 goals, 14 assists) and Brian Woolger (nine goals, 18 assists) have led the Winter Hawks offensively.
With 20-year-old Blake Grenier still listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury, 17-year-old Dustin Butler (11-10, 2.41 goals against average, .905 save percentage) is the likely starter in goal for Portland.
On his way: Already the youngest team in the Western Hockey League, Everett will be getting even younger after the holiday break when Zach Sim joins the team.
Sim, a 16-year-old defenseman from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, will join the Silvertips in the new year after playing for Team Western at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge.
Sim, who is currently playing for Beardy’s Blackhawks in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, was a candidate to make the team in training camp before suffering a shoulder injury. His addition will give the Tips eight 16-year-olds on their roster, including four 16-year-old defensemen.
Tuque toss: At their next home game on Dec. 15 against Tri-City, the Silvertips are holding a tuque toss. Anyone who donates a toy to Christmas House will receive a certificate for a tuque – a woolen cap – which can be redeemed at the game. When the Tips score their first goal, fans are encouraged to throw their tuques on the ice. The tuques will then be donated to Christmas House.
The tuque toss takes the place of the teddy bear toss the team held last season.