Robin Kovar discusses all things Phoenix

Wednesday, 23rd December 2015

Robin Kovar is now in his third year with the Phoenix, and since the retirement of the irreplaceable Tony Hand, has taken on even more of a leadership role this season.  In a two part interview, we caught up with Robin to get his thoughts on the season and find out what makes him tick.

How did you get into hockey?

“My Dad was a hockey player so I was on the ice from the age of three.  I then started playing junior hockey for my local team Vsetin, and the senior team was the best in the Czech Extraliga at the time.  I was very lucky as we had best junior system in the country, with great coaches and top players, so it was a wonderful experience.”

Why do you wear the number 66?

“My favourite player growing up wore it, Mario Lemieux, but as I was moving around and playing with different teams, I always had different numbers.  So I just decided on 66 and have some fun with it!”

What happened with your draft pick?

“I was playing in the Western Hockey League with Vancouver, but I didn’t make a huge impact as I was injured.  I wasn’t officially added to the draft list, but Edmonton tried to draft me anyway, so I felt like I missed my shot.”

What was it like playing in the WHL?

“It was a good experience, but I wasn’t ready for that league – I should have waited another year playing in Czech junior hockey.  The WHL is a physical league so you have to bulk up.  But I learned English and a different lifestyle.

“It was Vancouver’s first year in the league and it was a great organisation, and the junior system is out of this world!  The arenas in North America and the professionalism of the leagues is incredible, and players who are trained in that system are ready to play senior hockey at a much younger age.”

You’ve played in lots of leagues across Europe…

“I decided to go back and fight for a spot in the Extraliga after playing in North America.  I’ve enjoyed playing in a few leagues, and they’re all different in terms of how teams play and train.  You have to adjust and you learn something from each of the leagues.”

What are your plans for Christmas?

“I’ll be making a Czech Christmas dinner, which is carp and salad, potatoes, vegetables – you make it the night before and it tastes great the next day!  I’ll probably watch some Czech movies with my family from when we were younger, and then it’s back to the hockey!”

To find out more about Robin, including what the Phoenix means to him, his thoughts on this season and our plans for the future, pick up a game programme on Sunday 10th January when we face-off against the Swindon Wildcats.

Phoenix man of the match, Robin Kovar

Phoenix playmaker Robin Kovar
(Image: Richard Amor Allan)

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