'A big deal for the kid:' Halifax Mooseheads forward Filip Zadina stars on world junior stage
Mooseheads forward Filip Zadina's Czech squad meets Canada in Thursday's semi-final.
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Halifax Mooseheads forward Filip Zadina is being cheered on by the organization after helping lead the Czech Republic to a World Junior semi-final game against Canada.
Mooseheads Head Coach Jim Midgley described 18-year-old Zadina as humble and driven and said he’s proud of his accomplishments in the tournament.
“It puts Halifax on the map,” he said.
He didn’t have any predictions for how the game against Canada Thursday night will go but felt a little conflicted on who to cheer for.
“Filip can score two as long as Canada gets three,” he joked during an interview.
He said Zadina will play in the NHL one day, but that he’s settled into Halifax life for the time being.
“He seems to like his billets and likes everything he’s experienced so far,” he said.
Mooseheads General Manager Cam Russell said the perfect scenario would have been seeing Canada face the Czech Republic in the finals, but he hopes both teams do well.
“It’s good for hockey,” said Russell. "So often some of these other teams dominate those tournaments and events.”
For the semi-final matchup, he expected Zadina to be the same consistent player that he’s come to know in Halifax.
“He wants to win, so I’m sure he will elevate the game a bit like all great players do,” he said.
When the Czech is back in Halifax, it will be business as usual with the goal scorer slotting into the top line again for the Mooseheads, said Russell.
“He’s probably one of our hardest working guys in practice,” he said.
However, he does recognize that the tournament can be very demanding physically and mentally on young players.
“We’re very careful. We’ll make sure he gets a proper rest,” he said.
The Czech Republic will face a dominant Team Canada Thursday night and the game should feature the young power-forward heavily.
So far in the tournament, which is being held in Buffalo, NY, he’s racked up five goals and one assist.
He’s also been a staple on the Czech Republic power play unit having scored four goals with the man advantage.
In the quarter-final win over Finland Tuesday, Zadina helped lead his team to the semi-finals with two regulation time goals.
During his first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season in Halifax, the power forward has been on fire, putting up 46 points in 32 games, and is the team’s leading point scorer.
Midgley said he plays in all situations for the team but that he’s driven to score goals, something he hopes the forward will continue to do when he returns.
For the time being, the organization wants him to focus on the tournament.
“It’s a big deal for the kid,” said Midgley.