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Patrik Stefan: The 1999 1st Pick!


The Long Beach Ice Dogs have officially announced the signing of C Patrik Stefan for next season. Stefan, a 17-year-old phenom from the Czech Republic, will don an Ice Dogs sweater in 1998-99 as he prepares for the NHL draft. Expected to be a top-5 selection, Stefan will be excused in late December and early January to play for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships in Winnipeg. Stefan joined the Ice Dogs during the Olympic Winter Games break in February and played in 25 games, scoring 15 points (5g, 10a).

Long Beach Ice Dogs Sign Czech Teen Phenom Patrik Stefan
17-Year-Old Expected to Be Among Top Draft Picks in 1999

LONG BEACH, Calif. (February 3, 1998) - Long Beach Ice Dogs General Manager/Head Coach John Van Boxmeer announced today the International Hockey League (IHL) team has signed 17-year-old Czech sensation Patrik Stefan to a 25-game try out. He will join the team in Fort Wayne on February 5 and make his Los Angeles debut on February 18 against the Turner Cup Champion Detroit Vipers at the Long Beach Arena.

The 6-foot-2, 215 pound center currently plays for Sparta Prague in the Extra league, the top league in the Czech Republic. He is joining the Ice Dogs during the league's recess for the Olympic break. "He's a big, strong play maker who sees the ice very well," said Van Boxmeer. "The early consensus (from scouts) is that he could be the overall No. 1 pick next year in the NHL Draft. This is a chance to educate him and see how he fits into our league."

With the goal of playing in the NHL, he is using this time to adjust to a different type of play and an entirely different culture. "The main reason is mentally to be stronger," he said through an interpreter. "I need to learn the language and get used to the North American way of life." Stefan accompanied the Ice Dogs last season to a game in Houston and according to his agent, Rich Winter, "felt he could compete on a skill level, but he didn't think he could compete physically. Now he's a little bigger and a little stronger."

"Patrik is a world-class player," said L.A. Kings General Manager Dave Taylor. "He is a good skater, a tenacious player, very skilled with the puck and possesses excellent size, strength and work ethic." He recently competed in the World Junior Championships and was the youngest player on the Czech Republic team by more than a year.

Said Bob Owen of RHO Hockey, a European and Canadian scout who represents a number or IHL and NHL teams, including the Ice Dogs, "I have followed Patrik's progress since December of 1995. The impression he left with me then and throughout the various tournaments I have seen him play, is that he is the brightest young prospect developed in the Czech Republic since Jaromir Jagr.

Stefan Impresses In IHL -"Hockey 2000"

The IHL regular season has just concluded and the Long Beach Ice Dogs were fortunate enough to have another super talented European teenager on their roster again this season. This year it was Patrik Stefan, a 17 year old center from the Czech Republic. Stefan was born on September 16, 1980 missing being eligible for this year's draft by just one day. So instead of being the youngest player available in the 1998 Entry Draft, he will be the oldest player available in '99.

Stefan's play with the Ice Dogs has opened many eyes. The Edmonton Ice drafted him 2nd overall in the Import Draft, but he wanted to play against higher competition. After playing 27 games with Sparta Prague in the Czech Elite League he signed a 25 game contract with the Dogs so he could play during the Olympic break. But after the Olympics ended, he decided to remain with the Dogs and probably will play there next season. Ice Dog's GM/Coach John Van Boxmeer has given the rookie sensation regular shifts and power play time, and Stefan has responded. Van Boxmeer is most impressed by his passing and playmaking abilities. "He's going to be a dominating, playmaking center," he said of the 6-foot-3 195 pounder."He's a guy who looks to make the play rather than shoot himself. He'll be a guy who can get 100 assists and 20-25 goals in the NHL.

I (Andrew Cary of Hockey 2000) had the opportunity to watch Stefan play in several games and came away very impressed. The puck always seems to find him when there is a scoring chance and he made numerous crisp, tape to tape passes. Stefan needs to work on his physical play. Too often he reaches for the puck and tries to steal it from and opposing player without taking the body. He also needs to gain some upper body strength. He looks really skinny and he almost weighs 200 lbs! Stefan should be ready to step in to the NHL right away in 1999 because he will be almost 19 when the season begins and will already have played 1-1/2 seasons of pro hockey. Watch for Stefan to perhaps go #1 next year.

Year    TEAM                            GP      G     A     P      PIM  
97-98   Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)       24      5     10    15      10  
97-98   Sparta Praha (Cze.)             27      2     6     8      ---  
97-98   WJC-Czech Rep.                  7       1     1     2       4

Long Beach Success A Tale Of Two Patriks
by Gino Ughetti - 22 October, 1998

They both come from the Czech Republic -- one from Pribram one from Jihlava. They play on the same team, even on the same line. One is nearing the twilight of his career; one is starting what could be a very productive career. They are a big part of the Long Beach Ice Dogs' early success so far this IHL season, and they even share the same first name. For those that follow the International Hockey League, the riddle is a simple one: The players in question are 28-year-old right wing Patrik Augusta and 18-year-old centerman Patrik Stefan.

Stefan, projected to be a top pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, has started the season looking as such with two goals and five assists in seven games through 21 Oct. Augusta, the veteran of seven professional seasons, has three goals and four assists in seven games.

Stefan left the Czech Republic in mid-season last spring and joined the Ice Dogs roster in February. He appeared in 25 games, netting five goals and 10 assists. "I came [to the IHL] because his league is more similar to the NHL," Stefan says. "The ice is [smaller] than in the Czech Republic and there is more hitting, more fighting. Plus this is a different lifestyle than back home."

Just beginning his second professional season and with a keen eye on this June's NHL draft, he thinks he made the right move. "I think it was the right decision," he says. "I'm not sure whether I would have played with my old team in Czech [Sparta Prague] or if I would have played Junior. This way, I know I'm playing [in Long Beach] and I see more teams, better competition and it gives me a chance to learn more English and adapt to the lifestyle here."

Stefan, a 189-cm., 98-kg. (6' 2", 215-pound) centerman, missed being eligible for the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by one day and is slated to be one of the top picks in the 1999 Draft. With the lofty expectations comes the pressure to live up to them. "I feel a little pressure before a game," he admits. "Once the game starts, I just want to play the best I can and help the team. I'll worry about [the draft] after the season."

Augusta likes what he sees in his linemate. "Patrik is going to be a good hockey player," Augusta, who welcomed Stefan into his Long Beach home when the youngster came to North America last season, offers. "He is still young but you can see that he has a great desire and work ethic. [Because] he is young, he is going to make some mistakes, but he is just unbelievable with the puck. He is a great puck-handler and a great skater. I wish him the best and I'm almost sure he will make it big."

While Stefan surely has such aspirations, his immediate goals are simpler. "My plan is if I score the first goal of the game, I want to score the second goal," he says. "If I score the second goal, I want the third one." With that attitude combined with his natural skills, expect Stefan to be scoring goals in the NHL very soon, and for years to come.

Henry's Own Picture Henry Lim's Own Scanned Picture STEFAN SCORES 4 IN 5 POINT NIGHT!

PATRIK STEFAN, the 18-year-old centre recorded the first 4-goal game of his pro career, added an assist, and finished plus-5 in the Ice Dogs' 8-7 shootout win over the Cincinnati Cyclones. Stefan, with 7 goals and 10 assists, is now second in the IHL scoring race
First Period
1. Long Beach, Stefan 4 (Nemecek) 1:21 
2. Cincinnati, Joseph 6 (Macleod) 7:55 
3. Long Beach, Augusta 8 (Stefan, Roach) 18:47 

Second Period
4. Cincinnati, Morrow 6 (Kjenstad, Henderson) 2:16 
5. Cincinnati, Nielsen 2 (Dandenault, Ashtashenko) pp 8:59 
6. Cincinnati, Patterson 1 (Biggs, Macleod) pp 18:45 
7. Long Beach, Stefan 5 (Matteucci, Augusta) 19:05 

Third Period
8. Long Beach, Stefan 6 (Augusta, Roach) pp 6:53 
9. Long Beach, Stefan 7 (Matteucci, Augusta) 7:12 
10. Long Beach, Williams 2 (Rosa, Jobin) 9:52
11. Long Beach, Byce 2 (unassisted) 11:31 
12. Cincinnati, Kjenstad 1 (Morrow, Joseph) pp 15:09 
13. Cincinnati, Dionne 3 (Shevalier, Simon) pp 16:03 
14. Cincinnati, Joseph 7 (Shevalier, Biggs) pp 18:14 


Long Beach Ice Dogs C PATRIK STEFAN captured IHL Player of the Week honors for the period ending Sunday. Stefan totaled 5 goals and 6 points for the week, including 4 goals and 5 points against the Cincinnati Cyclones on 3 November in an 8-7 win. He is second in the league in scoring with 8 goals and 18 points in 12 games, trailing only countryman and teammate PATRIK AUGUSTA (9 goals, 19 points).
Life's a Beach For Czech

Eighteen-year-old Czech native Patrik Stefan left Europe to play in the IHL to enhance his draft sotck. Long Beach Ice Dogs GM John Van Boxemmer says that Stefan, a six-foot-two centre, is a cross between Mike Modano and Sergei Fedorov. "Everything is so much faster here," Stefan said. "The cars, the people, the places you go. Better than my country, more opportunity, more to do here... but no girlfriend yet."

IHL leading rookie scorer and top 1999 NHL draft prospect PATRIK STEFAN is expected to miss the next 2 months -- and likely the World Junior Championships -- as he recovers from an injury suffered late last month. "Patrik suffered a significant head and neck injury from which he is recovering nicely," Long Beach Ice Dogs team doctor Keith Felder said. "We expect him to miss a minimum of 8 weeks and will be re-evaluated every 2 weeks." The injury occurred on 27 November in a game against the Houston Aeros.

The time on the disabled list means that Stefan will most likely miss the 1999 World Junior Championships in Winnipeg. A clause in his contract awarded Stefan the chance to play for his native Czech Republic. Stefan is disappointed with the circumstances, but is trying to put it in perspective. "It's unbelievable," he said. "I am very disappointed that I am injured, but what can I do? Right now, I just want to make sure that I am 100% percent healthy before I come back."

Draft Doldrums

The army of NHL scouts just crossed Long Beach off their travel itinerary when the possible N0. 1 draft Patrik Stefan went down with a serious concussion. "The media room for the pre-game meals will be a lot less crowded now," joked the Czech centre's agent Rich Winter.

Stefan, 18, who had 23 points in 20 games, may not be back until March. He had a mild rap on the head earlier this year. This one was a huge hit, with Stefan caught with his head down. He's had a couple of MRIs which appear normal but he's having dizzy spells and waring a neck brace.

"We're being ultra-cautious here... we could be talking about a $50-million to $100-million NHL carrer," said Winter. Stefan, who's been scouted about a dozen times by Atlanta GM Don Wadsdell and also had dinner with him, is the leading kid to go No.1 in June along with Swedish forward Daniel Sedin. But if Stefan falls down the list because of the concussion, so be it.