Goaltender Domink Hasek and goal scorer Jaromir Jagr were the obvious selections for the Czech Republic Olympic team, which announced its eight core players for the 2002 Winter Games Sunday.
The elite eight includes: Jagr, forward, (Pittsburgh Penguins), Hasek, goalie (Buffalo Sabres), Milan Hejduk, forward, (Colorado Avalanche), Martin Rucinsky, forward, (Montreal Canadiens), Dominik Hasek, goalie, (Buffalo Sabres), Petr Svoboda, defensman, (Tampa Bay Lightning), Patrik Elias, forward, (NJ Devils), Petr Sykora, forward, (NJ Devils), Martin Straka, forward, (Pittsburgh Penguins).
Out of the named group, only Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias did not win gold medals at Nagano in 1998.
While making the announcement, Czech general manager Frantisek Cerny reminded the press at the Prague Hilton that only North American teams have won gold in Olympic hockey tournaments that have been played in the USA, but that the Czech team "is ready to defend its Olympic title."
Canada won gold at both Lake Placid (1932) and USA were the winners in both Squaw Valley (1960) and in Lake Placid (1980).