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Catching up with... Patrik Elias

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils

Elias talked about his offseason plans from his home in Prague.

email – Hockey fans already know Patrik Elias for his scoring touch around the net. The Devils forward has the most game-winning goals in club history and currently owns a share of the team's all-time mark for assists.

Beyond his achievements on the ice, the two-time Stanley Cup champion is also known for his contributions to UNICEF. Now in its 62nd year, UNICEF's mission involves helping children across the globe overcome obstacles such as poverty and disease.

Elias has been involved with UNICEF since 2006, when he was named a Goodwill Ambassador, and in the two years since, the Czech Republic native has focused his support on the organization's vaccination efforts around the world. 

Elias will enter his 12th campaign in New Jersey when the Devils' regular season opens at home against the New York Islanders on Friday, Oct. 10. caught up with Elias from his offseason home in Prague as he prepared for a trip with UNICEF next month.

So far this summer, I've been spending time with my family while training, traveling and preparing to continue my work with UNICEF in Belize this September. I've also visited Paris and Athens, took a trip through Italy, and stopped in Switzerland to see the 2008 Euro Cup.

Elias has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2006. His upcoming trip to Belize will address afterschool and day care support programs, HIV outreach, and initiatives supporting sports development for children.

My hometown of Trebic in the Czech Republic is a small town of about 45,000 people. It's a unique place – the center of town is in a valley, but residences and businesses are built into the hills around it. There's a lot of history there... the city itself dates back to the 13th century.

For the last three years, I've lived in Prague during the offseason. I consider it to be the most beautiful city in the world, and hockey is the most popular sport here. The best part about having the summers off is that I can see my family and spend quality time with my wife, Petra, driving through Prague to enjoy the sights.

On a typical day during the offseason, I get up at 7:30 a.m. and eat some breakfast before I workout. This summer, I've been training with Martin Havlat of the Blackhawks and Roman Hamrlik of the Canadiens.

After lunch, I get in another workout that can include the bikes, or other sports like tennis, squash or soccer. I have dinner with my wife, and before I know it, the days are usually over. 

My wife and I have been getting some work done on our apartment in Prague, but when I have a chance to take a break from that, we go out to a movie or a show.

It was great to see that Bobby [Holik] is coming back, but to add Brian Rolston was great, as well. Rolston is a guy with great speed and a dangerous shot that's going to help our offense a lot.

This year, the Devils will be having the first training camp at Prudential Center, and I'm looking forward to it. It's a great facility with everything that we need to get ready for the upcoming season.

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