What made a hockey player to go into politics, and why do his daughters make him worry? The famous hockey player will discuss these as well as other topics in his interview for Luxury Prague Life.
I’ve worked with youth within the Czech Ice Hockey Association, and when I see the physical prowess of our youngest ones, it’s very bad. Often times, kids don’t even know how to do a front roll… within hockey, we do our best to lead children comprehensively and create a positive relationship with sports, but the first signal must come already from kindergartens and elementary schools. The status of physical education today is, basically, catastrophic. The infrastructure of sports grounds is a chapter in on itself. The state hasn’t clearly defined how many we have and what is their property structure… it constantly kept bugging me, and at some point I decided to add a helping hand and connect with people who have a similar opinion and want to improve the situations in sports. About one year ago, I met Mr. Babiš, who supports sports. We found out we had similar opinions on the matter and decided to prepare a proposal detailing how I’d like to see things work out. Now, this autumn, I’m ready to run for the chamber of deputies on behalf of ANO as an independent. I want to support sports in the Czech Republic.
No. I don’t have anything to lose. I come with a fresh slate and a strong conviction. Here, I have a great job at the Czech Ice Hockey Association. I consulted the matter with Mr. Král (ed. note: the president of the Czech Ice Hockey Association), who knows how I work and that I really like it here. However, he has a similar opinion on the situation with sports in the Czech Republic and supports me. If it weren’t for his support, I’d not go for it. But I’m not doing it to help hockey, but to be part of a team which will create a support system for sports as a whole. A system with clear rules and transparent financing.
I have a positive relationship with him – even though I’ve only known him for a short while, we’re intensively collaborating and I know what he thinks of the situation in sports, and in that area I see him as a great ally. That’s the most important thing for me. Sport is my life. I’m not trying to be a macroeconomist.
No. That’s his private thing.
Not anymore. At the beginning I missed that, but now I have a different mission. Even though I’ve been looking forward for basically all of my life to the times after my career, when I thought I wouldn’t need to do anything other than play golf and spend time with my family, but I could only do that for less than a year – then I had to go back to work, because that’s simply how I am. I’m not the kind of person who could just relax without doing anything, that’s just not me. I’m happy when I have a vision, I need to be doing something, and that makes me happy.
What I don’t miss? Well, being a professional sportsperson means that you’re under constant pressure. Specifically, my position was such that whenever I made a mistake, it ended with a goal. That’s something I definitely don’t miss. But, paradoxically, I’m now running for a position where I’ll often be under pressure, but it’ll be something different and it’s a new kind of challenge for me.
I don’t remember it all that well. We came to hockey practice, I could play several roles, and in fact did several sports. Back then they had me as a goalkeeper and even my dad said that they should try me out as a goalkeeper. And I stayed there ever since. Back then, parents had a lot of influence.
I don’t have much time now. Over the last three, four years, I have been very busy. But when I can, I go for a run or bike a bit. And my favorite are still ball games – golf, tennis. Running and biking is more of a necessity, to make sure I still fit in my pants. But I don’t consider those to be real fun, there are no goals or scores to keep.
We do lead our children towards sports, but not to professional sports. My children tried out a wide range of sports. It leads them to respect duties, discipline. The girls played tennis, football, they bike, swim; ice hockey will be a natural choice only for our boy though. With my wife, we’re fairly tolerant as far as performance sports go, but on the other hand have high demands in school. My wife is a university graduate, I also had fairly good grades, and both of us believe that education is a fundamental thing.
I’m not prepared for that and in fact might never be. (laughter)
Ideally, I won’t have to be a father-in-law at all. (laughter) I guess that answers that question!
I think hockey raises humble people. As far as the people I know go, the greater the star, the more humble they are. The players who were in Nagano, they were normal people, we enjoyed our time there. None of us really made a big deal about it. It was a great tournament, an excellent experience that I’ll keep for my whole life, but life (and the game) goes on.
No, but I do remember that with Franta Kučera we got a car from Mr. Charouz, a Ford Ka.
Depends. Children don’t know us much anymore, but parents sometimes do recognize us.
After my career, we still regularly go back to America. All our kids were born there, and we feel at home there.
I guess it’ll sound like a cliché, but I think I’d find it hard to go on without my family.
I do enjoy nice hotels and high-quality things. But I grew up in a panel apartment house… I like sport… of course, when you play in the NHL, fly in private jets, sleep in the best hotels and go to excellent restaurants. In fact, I’d like to mention restaurants specifically, those I do enjoy. But I don’t think I’m one of those who really brandish luxury. I like a nice home, a clean, well-kept place to call our own. And I also enjoy all kinds of traveling.
These aren’t my own words, but I’ve heard them from Lucie Bílá. Money, if used well, can give you freedom. That motto stayed with me. I think there’s a certain truth to it.