A teammate, friend, and at the same time, opponent, is raising money to help Kelowna Rockets forward Pavel Novak’s recent cancer diagnosis.
Back in June, Novak’s hockey career was put on hold when he was diagnosed with an oncological disease. The 20-year-old was named to Czechia’s World Junior team for the tournament back in late December.
The tournament got postponed until August 9, and now Novak is unable to wear his country’s colours because of his condition.
This is where follow countryman Michal Gut steps in. Gut plays for the Everett Silvertips and had made Team Czechia for the upcoming World Junior Championships.
Throughout the tournament, Gut is going to play with speciality True sticks. Every stick he uses, he’s going to auction off with all proceeds going to the Ivan Hlinka Endowment Fund. The foundation helps hockey players and officials taking on extenuating circumstances, both socially and economically.
“We all know what happened to our friend,” said Gut. “I thought about it and wanted to somehow support him and help him. We have known each other since the national team and we are good friends. I write to him almost every day. I have never seen a stronger person. He always stays positive and handles it well. I think he will win this tough match.”
Everett Silvertips forward Michal Gut will be playing with special @truetemperhcky sticks at the upcoming @iihf_wjc in honour of good friend and fellow Czechia teammate Pavel Novak's cancer fight. The sticks will later be auctioned off. 🦁
— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) August 2, 2022
Originally, Gut wanted all proceeds from the auction to go right Novak’s medical bills, but he declined and they agreed for the money to go to the foundation. Gut and True collaborated to create purple sticks for the tournament.
“I asked him if he would need the money,” said Gut. “He told me no. So we agreed to donate them to Mrs. Hlinková’s foundation, which I had already called. She was very happy. She told me that people are generally not in a good financial position at the moment and little money is collected lately, so that will definitely help.”
Details on the auction have yet to be announced.
Czechia opens the World Junior Championships on Aug. 9 against Slovakia. The tournament is being held in Edmonton.