EDMONTON, AB - If you're wondering whether Czech Tomas Mazura had a picture of Ales Hemsky on his wall growing up, you may not be completely surprised by what you find out.
"Yeah, I did!" exclaimed the Oilers 2019 sixth-round selection Monday at Development Camp.
Mazura, taken 162nd-overall this past weekend at the 2019 NHL Draft, became a member of the Oilers organization alongside his best friend and compatriot Matej Blumel (Round 4,100th-overall). And although he doesn't wear No. 83 on his jersey, he was a fan of Hemsky.
"I actually know him," the 6-foot-2 centre said. "My dad is good friends with him and we play tennis in the summer and stuff. We're not great friends but we know each other. I've been following him since when he played here."
Mazura hails from Pardubice, CZE, where Hemsky derives, so it shouldn't come as a shock that there's a connection. Hemsky suited up in 652 games with the Oilers, scoring 142 goals and 335 assists for 477 points.
Now, Mazura - who thinks he plays a similar style as 'Hemmer' - is trying to carve out a path with the Orange & Blue.
Video: DEV CAMP | Tomas Mazura
"I mean, I've been following him, so I try to use my skill," Mazura, who had 14 goals and 40 assists with Kimball Union Academy last season, said.
"His hands are pretty good so the bar is pretty high for that. But I go home, train, and then I skate with - because it's a small country so a lot of the guys, we know each other - a lot of NHL players and major junior players."
Mazura said he was overlooked frequently in Czech hockey programs while growing up due to his frame but the 181-pound pivot has since sprouted. The middleman wants to put on more weight and has been working out with the same trainer that developed Hemsky.
"I train with the same person that Hemsky trained with when he played," Mazura said. "I need to bulk up and put muscle on. That's my main priority. He does great workouts for me."
He'll get some assistance from the Oilers brass in the development department this week at Oilers Development Camp, and hopes all his hard work pays off in the form of acknowledgment from the Czech national hockey program.
"It's an honour to represent my country but at this point, I've worked hard for it and I think I deserve to be on it," Mazura said of potentially joining Czechs U20 squad.
"I've never been to one camp."