Cervenka edges Josi for Player of the Year
by Andrew PODNIEKS|17 JUN 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation / Andrea Cardin
Czechia captain Roman Cervenka has been named IIHF Male Player of the Year for 2024, narrowly edging Swiss defender Roman Josi in voting conducted by more than 100 media from the top 22 nations of the Men’s World Championship program.
Cervenka received 31.3 per cent of the vote to Josi’s 30.3. Czechia goalie Lukas Dostal, also a key player in Czechia’s run to the gold medal last month in Prague, finished third with 20.4 per cent of the vote. Josi’s teammate, Kevin Fiala, who was named Men’s World Championship MVP, finished fourth with 11.2 per cent. Erik Karlsson (Sweden) and John Tavares (Canada) also received votes.
The winner of the inaugural Player of the Year last year was Canadian Connor Bedard. Voters consisted of media (70 per cent) and appropriate IIHF Family (30 per cent). The award is intended for the player who excelled at both the IIHF level (Men’s Worlds, World Juniors, World U18 Men’s) and in a domestic league of the highest calibre for that country.
Playing in the 11th Men’s Worlds of his long and distinguished career, Cervenka led Czechia to a gold medal at the Men’s World Championship. The Czechs defeated Josi and the Swiss 1-0 in dramatic fashion to capture their first WM gold since 2010. Cervenka tied for sixth in tournament scoring with 11 points and was a +7. In domestic league play, he had 40 points in 47 games with Rapperswil (Switzerland).
Josi was the captain of the Swiss team that won silver for the third time in 11 years, and not coincidentally he has been on all three of those teams. He was also named Directorate Best Defender in Prague and was named to the WM All-Star Team on defence. Josi played in the NHL in 2023-24 and was 3rd in NHL scoring among defenders (85 points, Nashville Predators (NHL).
Dostal was nothing short of sensational with the Czechs at home for the WM last month. He was named WM Directorate Best Goalie and was also named to the All-Star Team. He posted a 6-2 record and recorded three shutouts, including in the quarter-finals and the Gold-Medal Game. In the NHL, Dostal had a 14-23-3 record and a save % of .902 with the Anaheim Ducks in his first full NHL season.
Fiala was named the Men’s Worlds MVP. As well, he completed the end-of-tournament hat trick by being named IIHF Directorate Best Forward and was also placed on the All-Star Team. He helped the Swiss win a silver medal, and in the NHL he was tied for 43rd in scoring with 73 points with the Los Angeles Kings (NHL).
Cervenka will be presented his trophy by IIHF president Luc Tardif in the coming weeks.