2004 prospect interview: Petr Pohl

By Robert Neuhauser

Vitkovice midgets star winger Petr Pohl established himself as one of the best midget-aged
players in the Czech Republic. It is obvious that he is on the way to a serious 2004 NHL
Draft prospect. This at this time not very known prospect took time to answer my
questions after the final game of the three-game series against the Swiss Under-16 team.

When did you start playing hockey?

When I was 4 years old I tried to enter the youngest cathegory in hockey, but there were
older kids, I was too young so I wasn’t admitted. I spent the next year with figure skating,
the figure skating coaches taught me to skate so when I was five I had no trouble with starting
playing organized hockey.

Where did you start playing hockey?

It was in my hometown Koprivnice and now I play for the Vitkovice midgets.

Who directed your first hockey steps?

Nobody forced me to play hockey. My first role model was a friend from the house we lived in,
he was older than me and was also playing hockey so I wanted to be like him and started
playing hockey.

What is your biggest success in hockey so far?

Well, I think that my biggest success is that I was selected to play for the Under-16 team,
it’s a great honor.

Who is your biggest fan?

This would be my granddad. He watches most of my games and we discuss hockey very often. He really
supports me a lot.

Who is your hockey role model?

My biggest idol was Wayne Gretzky, when he was still playing, I watched him a lot and tried
to be like him. It may sound crazy, but my second idol is the goalie Dominik Hasek. I think
that he is a great hockey personality and I admire the way he behaves. So speaking of
behaviour and dedication to hockey it would be Dominik Hasek.

Your favorite team in the Czech Republic?

Of course Vitkovice, the team I play for.

Your favorite NHL team?

Now the Detroit Red Wings, also because of Dominik Hasek. I support them a lot and I wish
that they win the Stanley Cup this season.

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

Definitely it is the 55. It has a special sense and it was again my granddad who had this
idea. Fifty five means padesat pet in Czech and the first letters of those two words are
the same as by my name and surname – Petr Pohl.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

I think that my biggest asset is skating, of course I can’t judge myself as other people
can do but people tell me that I’m a good skater. I worked a lot on my skating and at the
beginning there were the figure skating practices. On the downside I have to further
develop my defensive play, that’s a thing I have to work on.

Do you have a player you like to play with?

Our line in Vitkovice midgets consisting of 1986 born players Petr Valusiak and Michal Novak
is really very good and I enjoy playing with the guys. I play with Petr Valusiak for the
Under-16 team and I feel sorry that he had to miss this three-game series because that he
is sick.

Have you had any serious injury in your previous career?

No, I haven’t, I’m lucky.

Do you plan playing in the CHL in two years?

That’s too early to tell, I don’t know right now. We’ll see in the future.

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

Well, I think that I’m a finesse player and that I’ll have to get used to the tougher style
first. In order to do so, I have to add more muscle to become stronger. I’m working on it,
this will be essential in North America.

How do you see your chances in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft?

I haven’t thought about it yet. It’s still a very long way to go before the draft comes around
and I have to improve my skills. But the NHL draft is definitely a dream for me.

What do you do in your free time?

All my mind is set on hockey. In my free time I always do some excersises to improve my
strength or I try to relax to have enough strength for the games.

What makes you happy and what makes you sad?

In hockey I’m always very happy when I score a nice goal but I’m equally happy with a
good pass. But I’m not happy when the team is struggling and we don’t play like we should
play. In personal life I’m satisfied when everything is OK and I can fully concentrate on hockey.
On the other side when somebody in my family or my friends is sick then I feel sorry.

What’s your main goal for this season?

I would like to finish in the top 10 of midget Extraleague scoring, that’s my goal. But
otherwise the points aren’t the most important thing, I want to have a good
feeling about my overall play.

What about your future with the National team?

I’m happy that I can play for the Under-16 team now and I hope that I can maintain my position
in the junior national team of the 1986 born also in the following seasons.
Once in the future I would like to play for the senior National team.

And your hockey dreams?

Like every Czech player, I would like to play in the Extraleague, for the senior National team
and in the NHL. Hope my dreams will come true, but I have to work hard.