PRAGUE – With a team that features Kane, Toews, Keith, and Crawford along with other veterans of the NHL, there are two younger players that have gotten some attention from the media the past few weeks.
That’s because of the Blackhawks’ unique 2019-2020 season opener in the Czech Republic, which will be a homecoming for forwards Dominik Kubalik and David Kampf.
The latter was born in Jirkov while the former is from Plzen, and each will be in the spotlight when they take on the Flyers on Friday afternoon in Prague at O2 Arena.
Kubalik was fired up about the prospect of playing back home in the Czech Republic even before he officially made the roster, speaking with reporters about how much that chance would mean during preseason workouts back in Chicago.
“I didn’t think about it yet, because it’s still something like a dream,” said Kubalik after practice at the United Center on September 25th. “It’s getting closer and closer, and I’ve very excited for that.”
Indeed he’ll get his chance, as he made the final 21-man roster for the team along with Kampf on Tuesday afternoon. Acquired through a trade with the Kings last year while he was playing in Switzerland, Kubalik scored a pair of goals in the preseason to solidify his spot on the roster.
Kampf will see action in his third season with the Blackhawks, having played in 109 games with the team the last two seasons.
Over the last two days, Kubalik and Kampf have had the chance to take the ice in Prague as the team practices at O2 Arena, further adding to his excitement for what’s ahead on Friday. On top of that, Kubalik will be making his NHL debut on Friday as well, completing an unexpected journey over the last year.
“I didn’t think about NHL game in the last couple of years and not even that my first is going to be 45 minutes from my hometown, so obviously it makes it a lot better,” said Kubalik in Prague to ChicagoBlackhawks.com. “It’s going to be a great experience for me and especially for my family.”
One he probably never thought would happen in his home country.