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Chmelar Brings Silver Medal, Experience Back to Providence : College Hockey News

Not Enough : College Hockey News

January 23, 2023
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by Belle Fraser/CHN Reporter

Chmelar playing for his native Czechia in the World Junior final.

Chmelar playing for his native Czechia in the World Junior final.

If Providence’s Jaroslav Chmelar was going to leave his team for a tournament, then adding an IIHF silver medal to his hockey resume while representing Czechia in the World Juniors this month was a great way to do it.

The freshman forward garnered five points in seven games en route to his home-country’s first tournament medal since 2005. Canada’s 3-2 overtime championship victory stung, but Chmelar is still able to appreciate the experience of skating with Czechia on his chest. 

“It was team play. Everybody wanted to do everything for the team — everyone would lay their lives on the ice for each other,” Chmelar said. “We just had a great group and we wanted to play as a team and we just enjoyed it and executed our system. That was the plan.” 

Leaving for the tournament halfway through his rookie season in Providence, Chmelar quickly found his stride in a new lineup and was a leader for the Czechia squad. His three-point performance against Germany earned the winger Player of the Game status on Dec. 31.

“I think I used my size pretty well in the tournament,” Chmelar said. “I had a lot of net presence that I got a lot of chances from. I just had good linemates that I have known for a long time. We had the chemistry.” 

While a college hockey barn is most of our favorite places to be, Chmelar said the atmosphere at the World Junior games was a special one to play in — especially in the final matchup against a Canada team on its home turf.

“It was really cool, every game was packed,” he said. “It was a crazy experience to play in front of that many people on the national team while wearing the national team jersey.”

Czechia showed an impressive level of resilience in the championship competition, deleting a 2-0 deficit in under a minute in the third period. Jiří Kulich knocked in the rebound of Chmelar’s shot that rang off the post to get their group on the scoreboard. Soon after, a tip from Jakub Kos knotted the contest at two apiece and put Canada on their heels as regulation time dwindled down. 

Dylan Guenther’s extra-time heroics ultimately secured the gold, cutting the Czechia comeback story short at Scotiabank Centre on Jan. 5. Chmelar said it was hard to feel good about second place in the moment…

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