Having already played in two World Junior Championships, won a silver medal and scored nine goals, Buffalo Sabres prospect Jiri Kulich was the obvious pick to captain Team Czechia’s entry at this year’s tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The slick forward wanted to represented his country so badly that he asked the Sabres for permission to leave the Rochester Americans.
Kulich, 19, possesses the talent to enjoy a special tournament. His 16 goals this season are tied for the AHL lead. He recently made his NHL debut.
A year ago, he scored seven goals and nine points at the World Juniors, including the overtime winner to send Czechia to its first goal medal game since 2001.
Kulich is one of seven Sabres prospects participating in the tournament.
Center Matt Savoie and goalie Scott Ratzlaff (Canada), forwards Noah Ostlund and Anton Wahlberg (Sweden) and defensemen Norwin Panocha (Germany) and Maxim Strbak (Slovakia) also earned spots.