Czechs playing in honour of tragic Sheffield Steelers star
The Czech national ice hockey side goes into the World Championship quarter finals tomorrow with Sheffield Steeler Marek Troncinsky very much in the back of their minds.
The burly defenceman, who had signed on for Steelers again after impressing in season 2019-20, was found dead in the Republic on May 22.
The EIHL club is working behind the scenes to support the daughter he leaves behind.
She is around six years old.
The death of the former Czech team skater stunned the coach of the national side Filip Pešán.
"Troncho, I loved you very much. I can't believe it...we will fight on the ice for you" Pešán tweeted.
Troncinsky, who played for his country 17 times, was born in the city of Usti nad Labem and a "place of reverence" has been created at the Ústí Winter Stadium to honour his memory. Mourners have laid flowers and left lit candles there.
Some elements of the Czech media have speculated about the cause of the 32-year-old's death.
Some of that conjecture will not be repeated in this article, but it is fair to use a quote once given from the player's own lips: "I'm not an angel, I'm saying that. But on the other hand, a lot of what is said about me is inflated."
Troncinksy liked a drink and socialising with team-mates and fans alike.
His amusing antics when he exited the team bus after his Steelers' side won the 2020 Challenge Cup final will remain a memorable image in the minds of all who witnessed it.
While in Sheffield he never gave the club's management any trouble, whatsoever.
Quite the reverse, in fact.
Steelers are working on a tribute that will do justice to the affection he was held in by the fans, despite his comparatively short spell here.
During his time in South Yorkshire he played 43 games and scored 42 points - not bad for any defenceman in a new league.
He certainly enjoyed himself - which contradicts an assertion in one Czech media outlet that he had washed up at the "unattractive hockey address" that is Sheffield and the EIHL.
And his decision to return to Sheffield for season 2021-22, ended of course by his untimely death, proves he was content with his life here.
Meanwhile, Steelers have formally congratulated their "magnificent seven" who represented Great Britain in the World Championships in Latvia.
Captain Jonathan Phillips, Robert Dowd, Liam Kirk, Brendan Connolly, Davey Phillips, Matthew Myers and Sam Jones "played their part in the event and contributed to making the tournament a huge success" say the club.