KHL Medvescak Zagreb has begun putting together the 2015-16 KHL season team. One of the stand out forwards on Medvescak's team this season will be two-time Gagarin Cup winner Marek Kvapil.
''Kvapil is a high end player who has won two Gagarin Cups for Dynamo Moscow, and in those two seasons he finished among the top five scorers by number of points. We believe he will be one of the main players to bring some scoring and playmaking ability. He has elite skating ability and has proven his winning mentality, and that’s the kind of player we want on our new team'', commented Medvescak’s sport director Aaron Fox.
Marek Kvapil was born in 1985 in Ilava, Slovakia, but has Czech citizenship. He plays right wing. He honed his hockey craft in Slovakia's Dukli Trencin and Czech Slavija Prague, and he also spent a season in the OHL's Saginaw Spirit. In 2005 he was Tampa Bay Lightning's 163rd NHL draft pick. Throughout his professional career he has played for Slavija Prague, Springfield Falcons, Norfolk Admirals (both AHL), Johnstown Chiefs, Mississippi Sea Wolves (both ECHL), Vitkovice, Kometa Brno (both Extraliga), Dynamo Moscow and Severstal (both KHL). He raised the Gagarin Cup in '11-12 and '12-13 with Dynamo both times, and in '11-12 he was Dynamo’s highest scorer by number of goals. Aside from winning the Gagarin Cup, Kvapil also boasts a gold medal from the World Championship Elite Division (2010) and bronze from the World Juniors U20.
Along with Kvapil, Medvescak has also signed another Czech forward, Tomas Mertl, who plays center. This will be Mertl's debut in the KHL.
''Mertl is coming to Medvescak after a great season in the Czech Republic. He was Extraliga's 3rd highest scorer and really turned himself into an elite offensive player. We believe that Mertl is a player who will help our offense a lot and will give our team more speed'', stated Medvescak's sports director Aaron Fox.
Tomas Mertl was born in 1986 in Ceske Budejovice. He started playing hockey in the club of the same name, and spent a large part of his career there. He spent ten seasons with Ceske Budejovice’s primary team, and played here and there for lower leagues in KLH Jindrichuv Hradec, SK Horacka Slavia Trebič, BK Mlada Boleslav, and HC Tabor. In '04-05 he won first place in the Czech B League with Budejovice and secured his return to the Extraliga. In the following two seasons he played for HK Mountfield Hradec Kralov, and in '14-15 he was the team's best shooter by number of goals (24 G, 50 points), and the third best scorer in Extraliga.
In his junior days he played for the Czech national team in international tournaments, and in '03-04 he played at the World Juniors U18. Last season he played for the senior national team at international tournaments.
Foto: Severstal Cherepovets