Ask the Kamloops Blazers' two imports about their plans for Christmas tournaments and it turns out to be a tale of two players.
Defenceman Marek Hrbas has his fingers crossed, hoping he will get to play for his native Czech Republic in the World Junior Championship in Alberta later this month.
Left-winger Tim Bozon, however, knows he isn't going anywhere.
"It means a lot to me," Hrbas, who was acquired over the summer from the Edmonton Oil Kings, said Saturday night. "I really hope I get to the (selection) camp and then make the team.
"It would be a great experience."
Hrbas is on the Czech Republic's preliminary roster that is 40 players deep. Among the 11 defencemen listed are three WHLers - Hrbas, David Musil of the Vancouver Giants and Richard Nedomlel of the Swift Current Broncos.
Patrik Bartosak of the Red Deer Rebels is one of six goaltenders on the preliminary roster. Forward Dominik Uher of the Spokane Chiefs also is there.
Hrbas said he understands that the roster will be trimmed a bit this week. Players from Europe are to come over for a camp that opens in Lethbridge on Dec. 18. The Czechs will play two pre-tournament games - against Latvia in Okotoks on Dec. 20 and against Russia in Lethbridge on Dec. 22.
Hrbas expects the selection camp roster to include eight or nine defencemen.
Hrbas, 18, has played 39 games for his country in various under-16, -17 and -18 tournaments. Last season, he captained the team at the IIHF U-18 championship.
The WJC opens Dec. 26 in Calgary and Edmonton. The Czechs are in a group with Canada, Denmark, Finland and the United States that will play out of Edmonton.
Playing in Edmonton, where he spent the last WHL season, would make it even more special.
"That would be great," he said. "It would be nice to play in Edmonton and nice to see my old billets."
His Edmonton billets have told him that if he is there they will take him out for dinner.
Bozon, meanwhile, was born in St. Louis, lists Lugano, Switzerland, as his home, but plays internationally for France, the country for which his father, former NHLer Philippe, played.
France's U-20 team is to play in the IIHF Division 1, Group B tournament in Tychy, Poland, Dec. 12-18.
"I'm not going," Bozon said Saturday night. "I will go with the guys to Saskatchewan."
Bozon said that he made that decision upon seeing the WHL schedule, which has the Blazers in the East Division from Dec. 10-17.
"For me, I don't want to leave Kamloops now," said Bozon, who has never been to Saskatchewan or Manitoba. "I want to focus on Kamloops now."
Bozon has 24 points, including 11 goals, in 28 games. That includes the Teddy Bear goal - the score that unleashed the blizzard of stuffed toys during the Blazers' 5-4 victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars on Friday.
"I think everybody on the team wanted to score that goal," Bozon said. "I was lucky to score it and it was exciting, too."
Bozon said professional teams in Europe hold Teddy Bear tosses and that he has been a spectator at such games in which his father played.
"When my father played, I went with my teddy bear and threw it," he said, with a big smile.
That means he now has been on both ends of the teddy bear blizzard.
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