Branislav Rehus, a 5’11, 176 lbs rookie forward, ended his first OHL season with 17 goals, 19 assists, 97 PIM and a -20 in 67 games. With his 97 PIM, he was the third most penalized player on the Peterborough Petes.
Eligible for the upcoming draft, Rehus is ranked 129th among North American skaters by CSS in their mid-term rankings, and has a Dec. 24, 1988 birthday.
Last season, Rehus played in the Czech Junior League in HC Vitkovice and collected five goals and nine assists in 40 games. He played for Team Slovakia on the 2006 U-18 World Championship team.
Note: this interview was conducted in Slovak and translated into English.
HF: Your team, the Peterborough Petes, didn’t reach the playoffs. What went wrong?
BR: From the beginning of the regular season we were on the top, but later our management traded some older and skilled players for the younger ones. But we should have played better and reached the playoff.
HF: Are you satisfied with your performance this season?
BR: Sure, I can and I should play better, because of the NHL draft this June. But the general manager told me that he wants me to come back to Peterborough next season. Some satisfaction is still here.
HF: Can you describe yourself as a player?
BR: I try to work for the team, I’m the player for the hard and dirty job. I try to play hard, to finish checks and score some goals, but unfortunately, this year it was only a few goals.
HF: You collected 97 PIM in this season and you were third place in this category on your team. Do you fight a lot, or is it just from your style?
BR: I don’t know how I got so many. It is not a pretty number. I didn’t fight, but I try to play hard, I try to be tough in front of the net and maybe that’s the reason why I have so many penalty minutes. I have to limit this, because here in Canada, the referees are very strict.
HF: Last year you played for the Slovak team in the U-18 Championships. Do you wish to play for the national team also this year?
BR: It’s not my choice if I will go. But I always wanted to play for Slovakia. The last U-20 Championships were without me, so I want to work harder and be there next season.
HF: The season is over for you. What do you want to do now?
BR: I need some time for regeneration. And during this break I want to finish some exams at my high school in Senica.
HF: John Tavares broke Wayne Gretzky’s record this season. As a 16-year-old he had 72 goals. Is he really as good as it seems?
BR: Tavares is a great talent. He has a great vision and is very soft-handed. In almost every newspaper he is mentioned. He is very popular here.
HF: Next season the Slovak junior team will play in the Slovak senior league. If somebody called you to play on this team, what would you do? Will you play in the Slovak Extraleague or will you come back to Canada?
BR: It’s a really too soon to think about this possibility. I will think about it if somebody called me.
HF: How do you like living in Peterborough?
BR: This city has 75,000 inhabitants. I live with a family who has given me great conditions. The whole family is crazy for ice hockey. When I have free time, then I go with my friends to the cinema or bowling. And that is almost all. We have a lot of matches and practice, so I don’t have a lot of free time.
HF: What are your playing conditions? How are the training opportunities?
BR: In regard to this team, it has a really rich history. Many players were drafted from this team, for example Wayne Gretzky and Chris Pronger. So I think that the playing conditions are very good here. But from the beginning, the trainings were very hard. A lot of skating and also in practice we must play at top level. The one thing I miss here is regeneration.
HF: You played also in the Czech Junior League. Can you compare that league with the OHL or with Slovak Junior League?
BR: From what I have seen in our Slovak Junior League, I think that here in Canada it is much faster. And with much bigger players. The Czech Junior League is comparable with our Slovak Junior League.
HF: Is hockey popular in Peterborough?
BR: Here in Peterborough the people love ice hockey. And it’s good because we are more motivated. We have approximately 3,800 spectators, but in some cities it is even better. For example, in London they have 9,000 spectators at every game.
HF: What were your hockey first steps? Why do you choose to play hockey?
BR: I always wanted to play this game. As a young boy I played hockey in front of our house in Senica with my brother and friends. It was all about hockey. So, when I was 6 years old, my dad took me to my first training.
HF: Why you came here to Canada?
BR: After the meeting with my agent and my parents I made this decision. I wanted to try the Canadian junior league.
HF: What is your next target?
BR: I’m eligible for this year’s NHL draft, so I would be very pleased if some NHL team will take me. And I want at least to try to play in the NHL.
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