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World Juniors standout Libor Nemec makes USHL debut, adjusts to North American life and ice

Slovakian forward Libor Nemec starts on Omaha’s top line and is excited for what’s to come

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Libor Nemec pictured during his USHL debut on Jan. 20, 2023, at Liberty First Credit Union Arena. Nemec played in two games with the Omaha Lancers this weekend after being acquired in a trade earlier this month.
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

OMAHA, Neb. – Libor Nemec made a name for himself earlier this month at the World Junior Championship. The Slovakian winger scored three goals and added three assists in five games for his home country.

However, those five games won’t be his only ones in North America this season. The 6-foot-3 winger made his USHL debut this weekend with the Omaha Lancers.

“It’s a lot different than European hockey,” Nemec told The Rink Live Friday night. “I’ve got to get used to a new system and a new team, so it’s a big change. I’m looking forward though and I’m excited to be here.”

Nemec’s USHL debut ended in disappointing fashion, a 4-0 home loss to Tri-City. The Lancers fell to Tri-City again on Saturday, 5-3, in Kearney. Nemec was held off the scoresheet in both games but he did receive plenty of opportunities on the left side of Omaha’s top line and top power-play unit.

At the same time, the lack of production doesn’t come as a total surprise as this past week has been quite a shock to his system.

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Nemec arrived in Omaha earlier this week and besides a handful of international tournaments, he hasn’t spent much time on this side of the Atlantic. It’s been an adjustment both on and off the ice.

“The guys have treated me well and have made it really easy for me,” Nemec said. “Everything is new and it’s a lot though, so it’s been kinda tough. But everyone has made me feel comfortable so far and it’s gonna be good.”

Nemec was officially traded to Omaha on Jan. 3, the day after Slovakia was eliminated at the WJC. But as mentioned above, he only arrived in Omaha a matter of days before his debut.

Nemec played 28 games with Lukko U20 (SM-Sarja, Finland) this season. He scored five goals and added four assists in those 28 games while also racking up 14 penalty minutes. He scored six goals and added seven assists in 35 games last season with the same club.

Looking towards the future, the Lake Superior State commit said he’s excited about the opportunity to join the Lancers and get acclimated to the North American game.

“After World Juniors my advisor started asking me about it and I think this is something I think will help [in the future],” Nemec said. “It’ll help me get better.”

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Libor Nemec had six points (3-3-6) in five games for Slovakia at the World Juniors earlier this month. “It was so cool and representing my country was a big pleasure for me," Nemec said. "We had a few great games there and I made a lot of great memories there. So it was so much fun.”
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

Despite the results, it’s been so far so good in the Cornhusker State. Nemec said his billet family has been great and he’s been living with two of his new teammates, which has helped ease the transition.

Now he hopes the transition will be just as smooth on the ice.

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“I want to be one of the leaders here and I want to continue to get better,” Nemec said of his goals for the rest of the season. “I want to score, get points and just help the team however I can.”

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Jordan McAlpine is a junior and prospects reporter for The Rink Live.
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