2002 prospect interview: Marek Chvatal

By Robert Neuhauser

Marek Chvatal
Position: defenseman
Team: HC Ocelari Trinec
Born: January, 27th, 1984
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 180 lbs.
Shoots: L

Marek Chvatal, a defenseman of HC Ocelari Trinec juniors and a regular with the Under-18 team,
was willing to answer my questions after the game against Krokodyli HC Brno juniors. Marek
is considered to be one of the top 1984 born Czech defensemen and a prospect for the 2002
NHL Entry Draft.

At what age and where did you start playing hockey?

I started playing hockey when I was seven and it was in my native city Jihlava.

Who directed your first hockey steps?

My dad brought me to the rink and he was a friend of the now dead coach Rezac who coached
the 3rd grade kids at that time. Mr. Rezac asked me if I would want to play hockey and
I agreed.

Who is your biggest fan and supporter?

Surely my parents. My mum is my biggest fan and my dad is my biggest criticizer. We discuss
the games together and he points out every of my mistakes.

What is your biggest success in hockey so far?

I hope that my biggest successes await me in the future but I think that being a member
of the Czech Under-18 is a great honor and it is my biggest success so far.

Who is your hockey role model?

I always liked the play of New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch, I follow him a lot of
years and he is my role model.

Your favorite NHL team?

New York Rangers

Do you have a favorite number you want to wear on your jersey or you don’t care which
number you wear?

Since I started playing hockey I wear the number 10, I like that number and I wear it also
now when I play for the juniors of Trinec.

How would you describe yourself as a player (your strengths and weaknesses)?

That’s a tough question but I think that I’m a pretty offensive minded defenseman and that
my offensive play is my biggest asset. On the downside I sometimes tend to make some
mistakes in my own zone and that I have to work on my defensive play. My own mistakes
make me mad but otherwise I don’t think that I’m a hot head, I try to stay calm when
I’m playing

Do you have a special player you like to play with?

Not exactly, I’m often paired with someone else during the games so I don’t have any
special defensive partner I prefer to play with.

Do you want to play in the CHL next season or do you want to stay at home?

I definitely want to play in the CHL next season. I wanted to come over already this season
but I signed a two-year contract in Trinec which runs out at the end of the 2001/2002 season
so I couldn’t be drafted in this year’s CHL Import Draft. But next season I hope I will play
in North America and I would prefer the WHL or the OHL.

Do you expect any trouble with adjusting to the CHL style of play?

I think that I can handle this. I’m not coming over for delivering bone-crushing hits or
fighting every game, I rely on my skills and I want to make a name for myself as a skilled
offensive defenseman.

How do you see your chances for the 2002 NHL Entry Draft?

Well, it all depends from my play at the next Under-18 WJC. If I can make a good impression
with my play at this tournament, then I think that some team will select me in June.
I think that players playing in Europe have a tougher position because most of the players
selected play in North America but I think that I’ll be drafted.

What are your main goals for this season?

This season I want to make my debut in the senior Extraleague, play regularly for the Under-18
team and have a good Under-18 WJC and then be selected at the NHL Entry Draft. That would
be great.

How do you see your career with the Under-20 team or the senior National Team?

Well, it’s still a long time till these things become actual for me. These are only dreams,
I’dont think about them and I try to concentrate on my play for the Under-18 team.

Do you suffer often from injuries?

I think that I’m not injury prone. The only injury I suffered came this season when I had
to miss five games due to an injured shoulder. That was the first injury I suffered.

What do you do in your free time?

I like to sleep, sleeping gives me the strength I need for the games. When I’m not sleeping
I try to study English, I’ll need English if I want to come over to the CHL next year.

And the goals you want to achieve in hockey?

My biggest dream is playing in the NHL and I want to play in the NHL as long as I can. The
second dream is then to play with my younger brother Ondrej, who also plays hockey.