Edmonton, AB – Team captain Mark Pysyk is not the only Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman trying out for a chance to compete at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship, as fellow blue-liner Marek Hrbas is now also in the running.
While Pysyk is aiming for a spot on Team Canada, Hrbas has earned a World Junior tryout with the Czech Republic, which will be one of 10 nations competing at the 2011 tournament, Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Buffalo, N.Y. The 17-year-old defenceman from Plzen, Czech Republic, will travel to Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday to partake in his national team’s tryouts.
“We’re really proud of Marek for earning this opportunity to compete at World Juniors,” Oil Kings General Manager Bob Green said. “He’s done a great job for us on our back end so far this season, so this is really well-deserved. We wish him the best of luck at tryouts.”
Hrbas was the Oil Kings’ first-round selection (fourth overall) in the 2010 CHL Import Draft. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound blue-liner has played 24 games for Edmonton so far this season, scoring two goals and adding four assists.
Hrbas spent last season with the Fargo Force of the USHL, scoring four goals and 11 assists in 40 games. His previous international experience includes the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial U-18 tournament and the 2010 World Under-17 Challenge. Hrbas scored an impressive four goals and seven points in five games at the U-17 tournament.
Hrbas and the Oil Kings are back home at Rexall Place on Saturday against the Kelowna Rockets at 7 p.m., as it’s Kids Eat Free Night, with all kids 12 and under receiving a free hot dog, fries and pop. Saturday’s game starts a stretch of four home games in six nights that includes the Regina Pats on Monday, Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday and Chilliwack Bruins on Friday.
The Friday, Dec. 17 game against the Bruins is the Oil Kings’ much-anticipated Toyota Teddy Bear Toss game. For one night only, all tickets are just $10 and when the Oil Kings score their first goal that night, fans can throw the new teddy bears they brought to the game onto the ice. The bears will then be collected and donated to 630 CHED Santas Anonymous.
Tickets to every Oil Kings home game are available at any Ticketmaster outlet, online at oilkings.ca, or by calling 780-414-GOAL (4625).