Carolina Hurricanes prospect interview: Tomas Malec

By Robert Neuhauser

Tomas Malec
Team: Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
Position: defenseman
Birthdate: May, 13th, 1982
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 195 lbs.
Shoots: L
NHL draft: Florida Panthers, 2001

When did you start playing hockey?

I started playing hockey just as I started attending elementary school, so it was when I was
six years old.

Where did you start playing hockey?

It was in Skalica, a city near the Czech border, where we lived.

Who directed your first hockey steps?

My dad and my brother were the two people who brought me to the game. My dad is a huge fan
of hockey and he wanted me to play the game. The same was my brother. He was playing
hockey and I wanted to be like him, so I laced up the skates.

What is your biggest success in hockey so far?

My big success was the appearance at the World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic,
even if we finished only at the eighth place. I also think that it is great that I can
play in the QMJHL for the Rimouski Oceanic. We have a solid season and that is also a
success for me.

Who is your biggest fan?

Like I mentioned, my dad and my brother follow my play very closely and they really support
me a lot.

Who is your hockey role model?

It may be a little strange for a defenseman, but my role model is Los Angeles Kings’
forward Ziggy Palffy. I have followed lots of great defensemen, but Palffy is my hero.
Just like me he hails from Skalica and everybody in the town loves Ziggy, with me being
no exception.

Your favorite team in Europe?

Till the move to Rimouski I played for Skalica, this is without doubt my favorite European
team.

You were drafted by the Florida Panthers. How were your feelings when the Panthers
selected you?

Being drafted to the NHL was totally amazing. I think that the Panthers are a great
organization and I hope I can make the team in the future.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

That’s hard to say, I can’t judge myself as well as other people can, but I think that
I’m an offensive minded defenseman. Supporting of offense would be my strength. I have
still to improve in lots of ways, so I better won’t mention any exact thing.

Have you had any serious injury in your previous career?

No, injuries didn’t strike me. Hope this will last for my whole career…

Your plans for the near future?

I want to have a good season with the Rimouski Oceanic. After that I plan to attend the
Panthers camp. I’ll try hard to make team, of course. Everything depends on my performance
at the camp.

What do you do in your free time?

I try to be active also during my free time. When I have time, I go and play tennis. I like
it very much. Or just go and do some workouts to bulk up a bit. And I also have to relax,
of course.

Your hockey dreams?

I want to dress up for the Panthers and play in the NHL. I think lots of players have
the dream of reaching the NHL and I’m one of them.

Note: This interview was done before the Malec’s trade to the Carolina Hurricanes, so this fact isn’t included in the interview