Garrett James Photography

The world calls Merritt

While the snow starts to fall across the province, our eyes began to turn on Canada’s favourite winter pastime and holiday tradition – the World Junior Hockey Championship.

For Merritt Centennials forward Daniel Tkac, the opportunity he dreamed of has called. Tkac will represent Slovakia at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.

The 19-year-old has worn the colours of Slovakia before, having played in thirteen games where he tallied seven points for the U18 team last season. Most notably, he played in the U18 World Championship in Sweden last April.

With the call being made to the Slovakian, the hard work Tkac puts in is paying off. The all-around forward is having a breakout year for the Cents as through the first few months of the season he has passed his 2018-19 total with 21 points (7 goals, 14 assists) in 27 games.

Close to home

Born in the eastern Slovakian town of Presov, the championships are close to home for Tkac even though they are being played in a foreign country. Trinec, Czech Republic is where Slovakia plays all of its group games and the city is about a three hour drive from Presov. With the towns that close, expect to see a lot of love in the stands for Merritt’s forward.

Slovakia’s road to advancing past the round robin stage opens with a game against Kazakhstan on December 27 and then goes on to play Finland, Switzerland and Sweden to finish the round robin.

Photo by Andrea Cardin/HHOF-IIHF Images

Tkac is the first Centennials player to ever skate at the World Junior Hockey Championship, so it’s a huge honour for the BCHL’s longest continuously run franchise.