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Klára Hymlárová from St. Cloud State is excited to get started with PWHL Minnesota

ST. CLOUD — Only a quarter of the athletes who declared for the 2024 PWHL Draft were selected for the event held June 10 in St. Paul.

When Klára Hymlárová heard her name called in the third round, 15th overall, by PWHL Minnesota, she was ecstatic about the opportunity to play professional hockey in a state where she had spent the past five years. The native of Opava, Czech Republic, competed for St. Cloud State University from the fall of 2019 through the spring of 2024, and now she won’t have to travel far to play for her new team in St. Paul.

“I’m obviously super happy and honored to stay in Minnesota, as that’s where I spent my last five years,” Hymlárová said during a media Zoom call the day after he was drafted. “I’m just super excited to start the season and meet the team and see what it’s like to finally become a pro.”

The 25-year-old said she was at home in eastern Czech Republic when the tour started, and because the event didn’t get underway until around 1 a.m. in her time zone, she had to set an alarm to wake up for the event. . She added that her mother cried a little when her name was finally called by Minnesota and that it was a wonderful, emotional moment that she got to share with her parents late that evening.

Hymlárová just completed her fifth year of college hockey at St. Cloud State in 2023-2024, where she played as a defenseman and forward. She produced eight goals and 16 assists in her final year of eligibility, leading the entire team in scoring, and she registered a total of 89 points in 142 career games with the Huskies. The 6-foot-1 skater also served as an alternate captain for St. Cloud State.

“Almost everyone I played with at St. Cloud texted me (after I was drafted), so it was really nice to hear from all my teammates and coaches. Everyone was super happy for me to stay in Minnesota said Hymlárová, adding that it will be fun for her and her teammates at St. Cloud State to watch each other’s games in person next season. Interestingly, the 25-year-old is the first player from SCSU to be drafted into the PWHL, as no player was selected last year in 2023.

Although the Czech native has competed as both a forward and a defenseman (and even a goalie at one point!), PWHL Minnesota head coach Ken Klee told The Rink Live during the draft that she would be used as a forward for the team. next season if she earns a 2024-2025 deal. Hymlárová mainly plays the center position when going into attack, but she said she has no problem switching back and forth between positions if that is what teams need from her in the future.

“I can close down, I can play a defensive role, I can also score goals, play on power plays, block shots, whatever. I don’t know, that’s just me,” she said of how she can do any role to play. is needed at that moment. She can play more of a lockdown role on defense, she can be a two-way center, or she can simply be an attacker who scores goals and creates plays.

A hockey player skating defensively on the right circle.

St. Cloud State’s Klara Hymlarova (12) plays defense against Minnesota on Dec. 5, 2023, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Sydney Wolf / The Rink Live

Hymlárová has also put herself on the international map by playing in her home country for about 10 years. She has previously won two bronze medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championships with the Czech Republic and competed at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Hymlárová knows some skaters from PWHL Minnesota and some other athletes in the league, as there are a few she has previously played with on the Czech national team. She has been texting with Denisa Krízová from Minnesota and the two are excited about possibly getting the chance to play together this winter. Other Czechs currently playing in the league are Dominika Lásková (Montréal), Aneta Tejralová (Ottawa), Katerina Mrázová (Ottawa) and Tereza Vanisová (Ottawa), and there were a few other players from the country who were selected in the draft of 2024. including Daniela Pejsová (Boston) and Noemi Neubauerová (Toronto).

The St. Cloud State skater said it is great to have so many Czech athletes competing for women’s hockey in her home country.

“I hope that especially in the Czech Republic, girls will play hockey because they see that we can play in this competition,” she said. “Women’s hockey isn’t that respected here yet, so when we get names in this draft and we get players in this league, it’s such a big deal for us.”

Hymlárová will attend camp with Minnesota this offseason in hopes of signing with the team. She said she is excited to participate in the PWHL’s fast-paced and physical competition and see how it compares to the WCHA.

Sydney Wolf

Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth and high school hockey. She joined the team in November 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in mass communications and a minor in writing and rhetoric studies.

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