After starting the 2014-15 season in the KHL with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, Ontario Hockey League grad Jakub Petruzalek has joined fell OHL alumnus Frantisek Lukes with HC Litvinov in the Czech Republic. Both Petruzalek and Lukes are natives of the Czech Republic. Currently in second place in the 14 team Czech Extraliga, Litvinov has had a reversal of fortune this season after placing 11th in 2013-14 and out of playoff contention.
Petruzalek played two years in the OHL, 2004-05 and 2005-06. In 2004-05, he played 59 regular season games for the Ottawa 67’s, scoring 23 and assisting on 40 for 63 points. That year, Jakub led all OHL rookies in assists and points. In the Robertson Cup playoffs, Petruzalek added 18 points in 21 games as the 67’s fell in the finals to the London Knights.
Jakub started 2005-06 with HC Litvinov but returned to the OHL to play for the Barrie Colts. In 24 regular season games for Barrie, he scored 11 and assisted on 20 for 31 points. In the playoffs, he contributed 19 points in 14 games for the Colts.
A 23rd overall pick by the 67’s at the 2004 CHL Import Draft, Petruzalek was also taken in the NHL Entry Draft that same spring. The New York Rangers took Jakub in the ninth round, 266th overall. Since 2006-07, he has played in the ECHL, AHL, NHL, Finland’s Liiga and the KHL.
Petruzalek’s time in the National Hockey League was limited to just two games with the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2008-09 season. He played for the Czech Republic at the 2012 and 2014 IIHF World Championships.
2014-15 started with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg in the KHL. Over 23 games, he scored four and assisted on 12 for 16 points. Since joining Litvinov, Petruzalek is producing at over a point per game.
Lukes played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2000-01 to 2002-03 with the Toronto Majors. Frantisek was the sixth overall pick by Toronto at the 2000 CHL Import Draft. The following year, he was an eighth round pick by the Phoenix Coyotes at the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, 243rd overall.
Since 2003-04, Lukes has played in the AHL, ECHL, CHL and the Czech Extraliga. He has been in the Extraliga since 2006-07, all with Litvinov. To date, he has played over 400 regular season games in the Extraliga, totalling over 300 points. He has also played in 48 playoff games, contributing 37 points.
Lukes is signed through 2014-15 but is currently on injured reserve. Over 21 games this season, he has totalled 24 points. In 41 games in all of 2013-14, he mustered just 23 points.
HC Verva Litvinov has two 43 year NHL veterans on the roster. Jiri Slegr has been with Litvinov since 2006-07. He played 622 regular season games in the National Hockey League between 1992-93 and 2005-06 with the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Atlanta Thrashers, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins.
Martin Rucinsky has been with Litvinov since 2010-11. He played 39 games short of 1,000 in the NHL between 1991-92 and 2007-08 with the Edmonton Oilers, Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks.
HC Litvinov was founded in 1945. The team plays home games at the Zimni Stadion Ivana Hlinky, a 7,000 seat venue that opened in 1955. The team last reached the finals in 1995-96. Currently, Litvinov sits two points out of first place in the 14 team league. In 2013-14, they placed 11th of 14 and out of the playoffs.
Litvinov is a city of 30,000 in the northwest corner of the Czech Republic, very near the border with Germany.