HC Kometa Brno is at the end of pre-season training cycle. The time, when the players jump back onto the ice is there. Experienced defenseman Tomas Zizka, who played 25 games for NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, has the highest goals. In last European Trophy tournament he had four assists in eight games, and thus was the most productive defenseman of HC Kometa Brno. He won the silver medal from Czech Republic Elite league in 2011/2012.
If you look back to last season, what would be your summary of it?
We had some problems during the season, which helped us at the end. In the regular round of the season the team grew up and settled down. We had very good mood timing for play-off fights. The team worked very well. We threw away the burden from regular round. Jiri Trvaj (goalie) showed great things and helped the team get through the play-offs to the finals.
What was the most memorable moment?
I remember especially the losses. We lost many games by one-goal difference (19 games). During my whole career I’ve never seen seven or eight games, where we were in the lead controlling the game, and at the very end we lost. Such moments bothered me. Fortunately, it ended all well, so all the bad feelings from the regular round were forgotten.
Altogether (incl. the pre-season games) you played 82 matches. Did you take a long vacation? What did you do?
I combined all together. It wasn’t a complete relaxation. I was quite active. I went to the Alps, where we visited the iceberg and enjoyed the fresh air. Then I spent some time doing my hobbies, for which there isn’t any time during the season. I played golf, for example. The vacation was a bit shorter, but that’s just the way it is when fighting in long play-offs.
How was the eight weeks of the pre-season practise?
I started very badly. Right at the very first practice I kicked a ball wrong, which caused a strange pain in my knee, so I had to visit a doctor, and due to that missed the first week. I focused mainly on endurance, nevertheless I think that I’ll have to add some more practice during our three-week holidays. If I want be strong at the season, that’s the only way to succeed.
Fotos: Michal Eger
You played Champions League with Slavia Prague in the season of 2008/2009. Can you compare such competition with European Trophy?
It’s not possible. The Champions League was financially subsidized. The games were played in the regular round of the season, so the opponents were in full strength. Most games of the European Trophy are played before the season. The Clubs try new tactical elements and the best line structure strategy. European Trophy is definitely very interesting for all fans.
Who will be your strongest rival for winning your division?
All the teams look good. Karpat Oulun will be very unpleasant. It’s a very good skating team. My former teammate Michal Vondrka (HC Slavia Praha) played there, and told me that they are very strong. It’s hard to say what to expect from the other teams. Last year we lost against Salzburg. They played very well, too.
What will be your goal for the upcoming season?
Every hockey player wants to win, prove something. It’s necessary to get to it step by step. The cornerstone is to get into the playoffs. Everything is about a strong will, then. The elite league is very balanced and little things make decisions. Mid-last season somebody asked me, if it was possible that Kometa Brno might win the title. I answered that it was certainly possible, but it’s very hard to compose small things. It’s like a puzzle. Now we know we were very close from the title. I have the highest goals, but I know that we must stay humble and don’t look down on the other teams.