After a breakthrough season where he led the Flyers in scoring with 81 points and 59 assists, both of which were in the Top 5 among all NHL players, Jakub Voracek returned to the Flyers training facility in Voorhees, NJ last week for a workout.
PhiladelphiaFlyers.com caught up with Voracek to talk about topics such as the Bobby Clarke Trophy as team MVP, being named to the NHL’s postseason First All-Star Team, and the captaincy of the Czech Republic team in the 2015 World Championships, among other things as he looks ahead to September’s Training Camp.
Q: How is your summer going?
“It’s been great. If I count the World Championships, I was home almost three months, so it was great to be home because I never spend that much time there. The World Championships was a great experience. It was awesome to play at home in front of the fans. I think that’s everybody’s dream to represent their country with a ‘C’ on their chest. After that, I went on vacation with my girlfriend, Nicole, to Seychelles.
Q: How did you find out you were going to be captain of the Czech team?
“We played our first game on Friday, May 1, and I found out on Monday, Apr. 27 at our practice. The coach skated up to me and told me I was going to be captain. It was unexpected. It was a very good feeling and it’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”
Q: Describe the atmosphere of playing the World Championships in your home country?
“I can’t even explain it. Those moments in hockey… They are something that you will never forget. When you think about the Olympics, the World Championships at home, even the playoff series with the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2012 - those hockey moments stay in your memory forever. It’s been unreal and hopefully there will be more and more of those memories.”
Q: Does the season you had last year, and all the honors that came with it, motivate you more?
“I’m going to do exactly the same thing I did last year because I really worked hard and put everything together to have a successful year. The summers I spend in Montreal to train, it helps me every single year. When I was there for the lockout I had my best season, scoring 22 goals in 48 games - that’s something I would have never thought of. I had 62 points the next year and last season I had 81 points. So every year it keeps getting better and better. Also a big part of it is experience, maturing and I have great teammates to help me get there to that level.”
Q: How did you find out about the NHL Postseason All-Star honor?
“I was shocked because I had no clue. I woke up on Thursday morning and everyone told me to watch Jiri Hudler’s speech at the NHL Awards because we are best friends. As I was watching it I got a text from my sister congratulating me. It’s a great honor because it basically said you had the best season among all the right wings in the league. The players that are on that team with me, it’s unreal to be with them.”
Q: A lot of the Flyers roster is in tact from last year, but can you talk about the additions of your countrymen Michal Neuvirth and Radko Gudas…
“I know Michal very well. I played with him on the national teams growing up. He’s a great goalie and I think that was a great pick up by the organization. The last two years I’ve been the only Czech here by myself so it’s good to have two guys. I’m very excited to be able to talk every once in a while in Czech to someone. Sometimes it was hard when I called home and I tried to talk Czech with my mom. She would ask me if I was sleeping because I talked like I couldn’t speak Czech anymore.”
Q: On Gudas…
“I said this before… I think he’s going to be one of the favorite players on the team to the fans next year because he leaves everything on the ice and plays with a lot of grit. It’s very good to see that we have a player like him in our organization.”
Q: Finally, your thoughts on your new head coach, Dave Hakstol. Is it true he flew to Czech Republic to meet with you in person?
“Yes, it says a lot that he flew all the way to Czech Republic to meet with me, and he had some Czech food so that’s a good sign! I’m very excited for him coming in here and a new system. We spent a lot of time talking about everything from everyday life to what he’s expecting from us, as well as myself and I think it went very well.”