2003 prospect interview: Petr Vrana

By Robert Neuhauser

Petr Vrana
Team: HC Havirov Panthers
Position: center
Born: March, 29th, 1985
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 175 lbs.
Shoots: L

Coveted 2003 prospect Petr Vrana is a player of the Havirov juniors this season. Petr is
still midget league eligible and he plays the whole season already for the
juniors. Vrana is a
member of the highly touted Under-17 top line Vojtech Polak-Petr Vrana-Ivo Kratena, a line
that was very dominating for the Under-16 team last season and also in this season the three
are tearing up the opposition. A prospect to be counted on when predicting the 2003 NHL Entry
Draft was kind enough to answer some questions after a game of his junior team.

When did you start playing hockey?

I started when I was six years old, but I think this is a bit late for today’s hockey.

Where did you start playing hockey?

My career began in Sternberk, a city near Olomouc, then I went to Olomouc and right now
I play for Havirov.

Who directed your first hockey steps?

My dad brought me to this game. He also played hockey, but in opposition to me he was a
goaltender.

What is your biggest success in hockey so far?

I think there are two things. One of them is definitely my first start in the senior
Extraleague for Havirov, that was really great. On the international stage I would
mention winning the Four Nations Tournament with the Under-16 team last season.

Who is your biggest fan?

My dad, my sister…in general my whole family supports me a lot.

Who is your hockey role model?

I don’t have one exact role model, one player I try to be like. I like the style of many
Czech players and I try to take the best from them.

Your favorite team in the Czech Republic?

Not a difficult question. Havirov, the team I play for.

Your favorite NHL team?

New York. Yeah, I really like the New York Rangers.

Do you have a favorite number you like to wear on your jersey?

I don’t have an exact number that I must wear on my jersey, but I prefer wearing the number
20. But in the Havirov juniors I have a 10 on my back.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

That’s a question for other people, not for me. I can’t judge myself as other people can,
but overall I would say that I need to get stronger in order to succeed in hockey and
also my shooting skills need to be better.

Do you have a player you like to play with?

With the Havirov juniors I play a lot with overager Radek Krestan, he is really a good
player. With the Under-17 team we have a great line along with Vojtech Polak and Ivo Kratena.
I like to play with the guys and I think we understand each other on the ice well.

Have you had any serious injury in your previous career?

That’s a long time ago. I was about 10 when I broke my leg, but it was during the
summer, in the offseason and it didn’t influence my hockey career in any way. So it could
be said that I haven’t had any hockey injury.

Do you plan playing in the CHL the next season?

Most likely not. I would prefer to stay with Havirov and try to win a spot on the senior
team and play in the Extraleague rather than in the CHL.

Do you think that the Canadian style of hockey will suit you?

Well, I’m not very big and the size would be my problem first. I need to get stronger
and I think the Czech style suits me better now. I’m a finesse player and not a hitter.
Of course my dreams is the NHL but I guess I take the European way to the NHL and not
through the Canadian junior leagues.

How do you see your chances in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft?

That’s way too early to tell. It’s a dream but I haven’t thought about it yet. I try to
concentrate on my performance this season.

What do you do in your free time?

If I have some free time then I want to have a rest. The schedule is quite tough and I need
to be in shape for the games. When I’m not resting then I watch TV or play video games,
this is entertaining. I also study at a secondary school, I have an individual plan for
my studies.

What makes you happy and what makes you sad?

Everytime when everyting is all right, the team is playing well and also I’m satisfied with
my play, then I’m happy. My mind is concentrated on hockey so on the other side when
the team is struggling and things aren’t like they should be, then I’m worried. And one
more thing, waking up early in the morning makes me not sad, it makes me mad!

What’s your main goal for this season?

I would like to have a good season in the junior Extraleague, that’s my main goal. I have
also played already in the senior Extraleague and if there will be another chance to play
then I want to give a good performance and try to stick with the senior team.

What about your future with the junior national team?

Now is the famed World Hockey Challenge of the Under-17 teams awaiting me and our team,
I would be very happy with a good play there and right now it’s almost the only thing
I think about when speaking about the international play. After the tournament in
Canada I have the Five Nations tournament in my head. That’s my future.

And your hockey dreams?

The senior Extraleague is my dream, but the biggest dream is like I said the NHL. I think
this is nearly the same by every player. We’ll see how my career will be.