Hlinka takes over Penguins

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The brand new National Hockey League season gets underway this weekend and the Czechs will be there in force. The World and Olympic champions will this year be represented on the bench as well as the ice. Ivan Hlinka, the coach who masterminded the Czech Republic's gold medal winning triumph in Nagano back in 1998, finally takes full control of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

There Hlinka will be in charge of a sizable Czech contingent, among them of course the great Jaromir Jagr. The winger will be hoping to repeat his form of last season, when he finished as the NHL's top scorer.

Moving on to football, and Sparta Prague's dynamic duo of Libor Sionko and Jiri Jarosik have been called up to the national team for the two crucial World Cup qualifiers against Iceland and Malta.

There had been a national clamour for their inclusion in Josef Chovanec's plans since their instrumental performances in the champion's 5-1 destruction of Viktoria Plzen on Monday. Sionko--although a wasteful striker at times--would add a new attacking dimension to the squad. Jarosik is much more of a defensive player, but is also a huge threat with his head from set pieces. Chovanec said of the inclusions: "Neither player is a complete novice and they have already featured in internationals."

Both Sionko and Jarosik each scored twice during that destruction of Plzen. The result means that Sparta maintain their 100-percent record from their seven Gambrinus League matches to date. Slovan Liberec, thrilled by their draw against Liverpool in the second round of the UEFA Cup, are in second place after their 2-0 victory over Blsany on Monday evening.

Click here for all the Gambrinus League results, plus the league table.

Finally tennis, and one result from the second round of the Princess Cup tournament in Tokyo. A fine result for the Czech Daja Bedanova as she ousted the number-three seed, Amelia Mauresmo of France 5-7 6-3 6-3.