The division-leading Winnipeg Ice are welcoming two important weapons back to their arsenal.
Nino Kinder and Michael Teply have returned home from the World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.
Teply played the role of hometown hero, playing for the Czechs just hours away from where he grew up in Havlíčkův Brod.
“I’ll never forget, they were screaming, they were yelling and it was nice,” he said.
The 18-year-old led the Czechs in scoring, tallying five assists in as many games.
The host nation upset Russia in their first game of the tournament, but ended up losing to Sweden in the Quarter Finals.
Hockey aside, the tournament doubled as a family reunion for Teply.
“My family was there, my mom, my dad and my brother. He looks up to me and wants to be like me,” says Teply.
Teply’s teammate, Nino Kinder of Team Germany, wrapped up the tournament in ninth place, but he managed to bring some bragging rights back to Winnipeg.
“The first win against Czech was a great feeling to beat them in their home country,” said the Berlin native.
“It was a great feeling to hear the national anthem after the game.”
Kinder picked up a goal and an assist in his first taste of World Junior hockey.
He’ll have a chance to do it again next year, after topping Kazakhstan in the relegation round to stay in the world’s top group.
“We thought we could reach the quarter-finals,” Kinder said. “It was kind of close but we didn’t, so we had to play in relegation.”
Teply and Kinder are both eligible to play in the tournament for one more year.