Branislav Mezei has moved much closer to home. The native of Slovakia has signed on
with HC Eaton Bardubice in the O2 Extraliga of the Czech Republic. Mezei finished 2009-10 with the Espoo Blues in Finlands SM-Liiga.
Branislav played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997-98 to 1999-00, all with the Belleville Bulls. He played an important defensive role on the 1998-99 Bulls team that beat out the London Knights for the Robertson Cup and made an unsuccessful Memorial Cup appearance.
Mezei was originally drafted by the New York Islanders in the first round of the 1999 NHL draft, tenth overall. Branislav played parts of two seasons with the Islanders and was used sparingly by the Florida Panthers for five seasons. In all, he played in 240 NHL games between 2000-01 and 2007-08. He spent one season, 2008-09, in Russia’s KHL with Astana Barys.
HC Eaton Bardubice finished the O2 Extraliga regular season tied for second out of 14 teams over the 52 game season. The team was the league’s playoff champion this past season led in net by none other than Dominic Hasek.
Pardubice is a city of around 90,000 people in the north central of the Czech Republic, nearest to the Poland border. The team plays out of the CEZ Arena, which holds 10,300 for hockey and has twice been the host of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Tournament.
Check out Branislav Mezei’s profile page on the HC Eaton Pardubice official website. The site is in Czech. Try our Czech Hockey Language Guide for help navigating around the site.