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5 things you might not know about Radek Faksa

From leaving home at age 11 to becoming a first-round pick, the Stars center's path to the NHL was tough but rewarding

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Radek Faksa recently competed for his native Czech Republic at the 2019 IIHF World Championship and tallied four points (one goal, three assists) in seven games.

The Czech Republic finished fourth, losing the bronze medal game to Russia in a shootout, 3-2.

Here are five things you might not know about Radek Faksa, who just completed his fourth season with the Stars:

 

1. He was a first-round draft pick

Faksa was taken 13th overall by the Stars in 2012. He was the first Czech player taken in the first round since 2007 and at the time was the fifth-highest-selected player by the Stars since they moved to Dallas in 1993. Faksa also was drafted by the KHL in 2012, going seventh overall.

Faksa had an interesting path to the NHL as he moved from his native Czech Republic at the age of 17 and played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League. Faksa tallied 124 points (54 goals, 70 assists) in 131 games with Kitchener and then was traded to Sudbury, where he had 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) in 29 games.

 

2. He moved away from home when he was 11 years old

Video: Highlighting Radek Faksa's journey to the NHL

Faksa played in Opava as a youth, but the financial burden was difficult on his single mother. His family received an offer from HC Ocelari Trinec, about 50 miles away, so Faksa moved into a hotel by himself and lived there during the season until he was 17. He attended school, and took care of himself, and said the experience helped him grow and become independent.

"My mom is pretty proud of me because I didn't go wild or anything. I studied and she's happy with me," he told Hockey's Future in 2013. "I think it has helped me with my life because I learned to do things on my own -- I learned how to do laundry and shop for groceries, make food. It was pretty good for my future."

 

3. He's fluent in international play

The 2019 World Championship was Faksa's eighth appearance for Team Czech Republic. He played in the Under-18 World Junior Championship in 2011, in the World Junior Championship in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the World Championship in 2016, 2018 and 2019, and the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.

Faksa has yet to win a medal in international play. This season was the closest he got. It also was his best scoring performance with a goal and three assists in seven games. He also won 60 percent of his faceoffs.

 

4. He got to spend time with his hero

When Faksa was playing in the OHL and spending training camps with the Stars, he was able to play and work out with Czech legend Jaromir Jagr, who played 34 games with the Stars in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. Faksa said spending a week in training camp with Jagr was a dream come true.

"I didn't know what to expect, because he is a legend," Faksa said. "But he helped me a lot and talked to me a lot, and taught me things about practice. It was great for me."

Faksa got an autographed jersey from Jagr, and later when he played against Jagr's Florida Panthers, then-coach Lindy Ruff joked that Faksa was the only player who was allowed to call Jagr "Grandpa."

"It's incredible. He has good jokes," Faksa said before playing against Jagr for the first time. "I wasn't born yet, and he had two Stanley Cups already. When Czech won the gold in Nagano, that was very big. They came back to celebrate in Prague and the whole Czech Republic had hockey fever."

 

5. He has one year remaining on his contract

Video: DAL@WPG: Faksa finishes off pretty passing play

Faksa will enter the final year of a three-year contract that has a salary cap hit of $2.2 million in 2019-20. He has the ability to become a restricted free agent next summer.

Faksa had 15 goals among 30 points in 81 games this season.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.

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