Czech 2004 prospects: David Krejci

By Robert Neuhauser
When hearing about David Krejci’s hometown in the Czech Republic, Sternberk, CHL fans have
one name on their minds, Petr Vrana. The skilled speedster from the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads
is the best knwon NHL prospect to come from Sternberk, but one year younger center David
Krejci has the chance to have a bright reputation very soon, too.

Just like Petr Vrana, David Krejci has his dad coaching hockey. When the small David was born,
he could follow him to the practices and be at the rink very often. He liked this sport and
when his father suggested him to start playing hockey, David didn’t hesitate and laced up
the skates. He made his first strides, took the stick into his hands and was ready to start
a career of his own.

That was when David was four years old and he was among the youngest kids to perform for the
1st grade team of Sternberk. Because he learned very fast how to skate and keep balance,
he made use of his speed to create offense and the coaches have slotted him to play the
forward position. A good decision for David, who didn’t dream of a goalie’s or defenseman’s

His crafty puckhandling was very useful for the team and he soon turned out to be the leader
of his team and now it was up to the coaches to make from this skilled kid an elite player.
David was always willing to listen to the advices and learn. He showed his competitivness
at the practices and was also doing various off-ice workouts. He knew that if he wants to
ever become a professional player, he has to give everything to the sport and practice hard
and his father did repeat this to him many times.

David collected his first individual trophies from the youth tournaments when he was playing
for the youngest grades of Sternberk. The team participated at many tournaments and David
Krejci usually went home with at least one trophy. The Olomouc franchise was aware that in
Sternberk is another extremly skilled kid and offered David a chance to join their developmental
system. That happened in the time when David was nine years old and ready to move up to the 4th
grade team. An Extraleague franchise was based in Olomouc and all the developmental teams, from
juniors to the 1st grades were coached by experienced coaches.

The Olomouc 4th grade team was also stocked with quality players and David could face better
competition. He emerged as a boost to the team with his smarts and at the end of the season
he could celebrate his first championship title as the Olomouc 4th grades were the top team
in the whole Czech Republic.

For the next season he moved up to the higher cathegory and began to play for the 1985 borns.
There he was reunited with Petr Vrana and this dynamic duo created havoc among the opposition
and helped the team win another championship title.
This repeated again in the next season when David was skating for the 6th grade team of Olomouc.
The team was unmatched in roster depth in the whole Czech Republic as the likes of 2003 NHL
prospects Jakub Cech, Petr Vrana and Ivo Kratena also wore the colors of Olomouc. They
teared the opponents apart and celebrated at the end of the year.

David’s final two championship titles came after he was returned to the 1986 borns team. Also
this team didn’t have many trouble with defeating the opponents and David rounded out the
number of championship titles at five. David won the titles when playing for the 7th and 8th
grade and in the 7th grade he even served as a captain of the team and was the first to hoist
the trophy. He was voted the Top forward after winning the scoring race at the final tournament
where all the top Czech 7th grade teams gathered.

After the final title with the 8th grade team there also came David’s last season in Olomouc.
But before he looked at the offers, he made his first to North America. The Olomouc 9th grade
team made a trip to Canada and David felt that the North American style of game suits him
well. He was the top scorer of the Olomouc team after collecting 14 points for 7 goals and
7 assists during the whole trip. At this tourney he started to wear the number 12 on his
back, which is from this time David’s favorite number.
In 2000-2001 David made his debut in the midget Extraleague, too. The Olomouc midget team
was in need of skilled players and promoted some underagers from the 9th grade team, David
Krejci among them. He had his first taste of elite midget hockey and had a smooth transition.
David skated 29 games with the Olomouc midgets that year, recording 10 points for 3 goals and
7 assists to go along with 4 PIMs.

But at the end of the season it was time to say goodbye to Olomouc. The team faced bancrupcy,
the Extraleague franchise was sold and the top prospects wouldn’t have much of a future in
Olomouc. So they left for the teams with Extraleague franchises, mostly for Havirov, Trinec
and Zlin. David Krejci was among those heading Trinec. The team offered solid conditions, also a
chance to play in the midget Extraleague and David could benefit from the coaching methods
of well-known respected midget coach Radomir Kuzilek.

David, nicknamed “Krejca” from his surname, played on fire during the whole 2001-2002 season.
The Trinec midget team was full of
highly skilled players and seven of them were regulars with the Czech junior national teams.
David especially likes to play on a line with winger Lukas Bindac and defenseman Jan Svrcek.
David cracked the lineup easily, playing as the second line or third line center. The Trinec
midgets didn’t have any dangerous opponents last season and eventually won the midget
Extraleague championship title. David Krejci dressed up for 54 games, scoring 65 points for
34 goals and 31 assists.
In 2001-2002 he also made his debut for the Czech Under-16 team. After a very solid performance
at the selection camp the coaches Jaromir Sindel and Vlastimil Koci have invited him for
two tournaments. The first was a three-game series against the Under-16 team of Slovakia
and the second one another three-game series against the young Swiss players. David dressed
up for 5 games, going scoreless in those contests.

At 5’9”, 160 lbs. David Krejci won’t be a huge physical presence, but still shows that he
ins’t afraid of taking a hit to make a play. He drives hard to the net and will dig for the
pucks in corners. But David’s strongest asset is his elite skill. He has very soft hands
and is capable of handling the pucks very smoothly. David is solid in the faceoff cirle and
is a terrific stickhandler. He isn’t afraid of playing in heavy traffic and shows remarkable
poise once on a scoring chance. The defensive side of David’s game is about average, he
won’t hurt you defensively, but also won’t rule as a backchecking forward. David has very
good shooting skills, he only needs to use his slapper more, the wrist shot is highly accurate.
He presents a big portion of vision and hockey sense in his play and is also able of very
smart, crisp passes. On the downside David could use more speed, he sometimes misses that
extra gear. His stride needs some polishing in effectivness and more acceleration. On the
ice David could also more control his temper, he tends to loose it and take some dumb
penalties. Overall he seems to be a promising player who could do well in the North American
system, if he grows some inches and adds more bulk.

This season David soon established a region of doom over the midget Extraleague. After the
first 11 games he led the whole scoring race with 21 points for 7 goals and 14 assists and
also 26 PIMs. The last week he played his first game for Trinec in the junior Extraleague, too.
He was one of the leaders of the Czech Under-17 team at the recent Five Nations Tournament,
played in the Czech Republic. In the four games David scored his first international goal
and added two assists for a total of three points.

David Krejci is a classmate of Trinec juniors forward and fellow 2004 prospect Jan Danecek.
Both players attend the second grade of the bussiness academy in Trinec. School takes quite
a lot of David’s time, who also knows that he has to rest a lot between the games in order
to have enough strength. From other sports David prefers to play tennis, like almost every
Czech hockey player, or ride his bike. He has hardly any time left for other sports than
hockey. When it comes to music, then David likes to listen to all modern songs, especially
the biggest hits. He only hates old-fashioned style of music. He is most happy with food
from chicken meat for his dinner and to drink a bottle of coke or sprite.

For this season David has clear goals. Help his Trinec midget team win the back-to-back
championship title and hopefully play more games in the junior Extraleague. The next
season David will consider coming over to the CHL as he tends to take the North American
route to the NHL. Good luck!