Heatley: My Slovak teammates were fast ice hockey players

We were under time pressure. After a game in Hamburg, Canadian ice hockey player Dany Heatley chatted for twenty minutes with his ex-teammate from Ottawa, Chris Schubert. After their talk, almost all of Nurnberg Ice Tigers team was already in a bus. I wanted to get six minutes for an interview with Dany and, at last, he gave me four. Still, I was thankful. The PR department of the club received two hundred requests for interviews in the past four months, and they approved eighty. The winner of the Olympic games 2010 in Vancouver and the World Cup 2004, and the two times World champion headed after thirteen years in NHL to Germany’s highest league.

Which of these two were more difficult to get used to at the beginning of your playing in Germany: a bigger ice hockey rink or a new life-style?

„I little bit of both. Hockey-wise, playing on a big ice is a change as it requires a different style of game. But the hockey itself is good. We have a strong team and so far it´s all going according to the plan. Getting used to a new life-style was very easy because Germany is a beautiful country.“

You debuted at the World Ice Hockey Championships in Sweden in 2002. Back then, Slovakia won a gold medal. Do you remember the correlative game?
„Yeah. We lost in that quarterfinal. Was it Demitra scoring at that time? (Note: it was Bondra who scored twice, and Šatan once). I remember those goals. The World Championship is a tough tournament. One elimination game is defining the success. At the time, Slovakia played well.“
You played at six WCs, out of which you attended four times in a row between years 2002 by 2005. Was it important for you to participate in the World Championships?
 „I was at the beginning of my career and in Atlanta we never made it to the NHL play-offs. Every time I had the chance, it was an honour for me to represent my country at the WC. I could see how important and prestigious the tournament is for Europan countries. I enjoyed these tournaments.“
In NHL lockout season 2004/2005, you played in Kazan for half a season.
„I started the season in Bern, and then my teammates from Atlanta, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Ilya Kovalchuk, invited me to Russia. We had a good team, I got to try the Russian league, and I saw country. It was certainly an interesting experience.
Please describe with a few words your Slovak teammates in Atlanta and Ottawa:Lubos Bartečko (two years in Atlanta).

„A good guy. A really fast player. I enjoyed playing with him.“

Ivan Majeský (one year in Atlanta).

„ A fantastic man. A solid, tough defenseman.“
Rony Petrovický (one year in Atlanta). He has been up to this date the only Slovak fighter in NHL.

„Yes, and he was not a bad player. He played penalty killing very well. All these players you mention were fast players.“

Andrej Meszároš (three years in Ottawa).

„We played together for a long time. He is my good friend. I respect him a lot.“

Zdeno Chára (one year in Ottawa).

„Zdeno is just unbelievable. Even though he is very big, he plays smart and fast in both offense and defense. He is one of the best teammates I ever played with and one of the toughest defensemen against whom I ever joined.“

Finally, what about a Czech player, Dominik Hašek (one year in Ottawa)?

„I played with him just for a short time. He is a legend, a member of the hall of fame, and a very special goalie.“

What do you consider your biggest victory in the national team?

„Olympic games in Vancouver 2010.“

What would you like to do after your ice hockey career?

„I don´t know yet, but maybe I’d like to coach.“

Leave a Reply