Czech Republic’s World Cup staff littered with former NHLers

Tom Renney joins HC at Noon in-studio to share his thoughts on the KHL expanding in China, World Cup of Hockey and Olympics.

The Czech Ice Hockey association has announced its management group for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey Thursday, naming several former NHLers to their staff.

Martin Rucinsky, who put up 612 points in 961 games over 16 NHL seasons was named general manager.

Milan Hnilicka will serve as his assistant, and Jaroslav Spacek will be behind the bench as an assistant coach.

All three were on the 1998 Nagano Olympics gold medal-winning Czech national team.

Hnilicka, a goaltender, spent parts of five seasons in the NHL.

Spacek 880 games as a defenceman for the Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes.

Former Detroit Red Wing Jiri Fischer was named head of scouting. Fischer had his career cut short after going into cardiac arrest during a game in 2005. He's currently the director of player development for the Red Wings.

Vinny Prospal, who played in 1,108 NHL games, has been added as an assistant coach.

"World Cup takes place in Toronto and our opponents will be Canada and United States," head coach Josef Jandac told the Czech Ice Hockey Association website. "Therefore we have extended the team management with personalities who live [in North America] or have large amount of experience with local hockey. [Vinny] Prospal with Jaroslav Spacek had played lots of games in NHL as well as Martin Rucinsky, who finished his professional career just recently and is very close to all nomination candidates.

"Another member of the golden generation, Milan Hnilicka, will surely make good use of his experience he gained in the role of general manager of the Czech junior team. We allow for Jiri Fischer who is working for Detroit Red Wings to watch over preparation of the expected playing system of overseas teams."