Czechs to teach Chinese ice hockey

The high price of hurt

Michal Travnicek is paying the price for a careless foul. So is the Czech junior ice hockey team. The elite Chemopetrol Litvinov forward wrote himself out of the upcoming World Junior Championships – and out of international hockey – with a brutal foul during an international tournament in November. In a high-stick battle with Sweden’s Mattias Weinhandl, Travnicek, 19, struck Weinhandl in the left eye with his stick. Weinhandl, also 19, could only distinguish between light and dark the next day. He will undergo more surgery next month. The Czech Ice Hockey Association (CSLH) conditionally banned Travnicek from all international play until the end of 2000. “The decisive argument for us was that we learned from the referees’ game report that Travnicek’s foul was not intentional,” Stanislav Sampalik of the CSLH disciplinary committee said. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) was harsher: It banned Travnicek for three years. Travnicek insists the foul was accidental. “He was hooking me. I tried to get rid of his stick, but it somehow lifted into his face. … I didn’t mean to hurt him.” “For a young player, a punishment like this is very harsh,” head coach Jaroslav Holik said, adding: “Perhaps something like this had to happen. Players must be more disciplined and cautious on the ice.”

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