Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek will be making his Czech Extraliga debut as Mountfield Hradec Kralove plays Karlovy Vary in a season-opening game today, and Hokej.cz’s Martin Voltr set the stage for Hronek’s debut. What follows is roughly translated from Czech:
Hronek takes the stage! On Friday, he will play for Hradec for the first time
The best defenseman at last year’s World Championship, Filip Hronek, is preparing with Hradec Kralove for the start of the Extraliga season. For the first time in four years, he will wear the jersey of his parent team in Friday’s game vs. Karlovy Vary.
“Filip didn’t skate with us during the summer, but he went to the locker room and wanted to jump in as soon as possible. We were happy when the team’s management informed us that he could take part in practices and join us in games. He will play in the game tomorrow,” said Mountfield coach Vladimir Ruzicka.
The team had agreed with its most famous product today, with the signing of the contract waiting only because of insurance. Now Hronek is a full-time member of the team.
“In my opinion, we’ve gotten the best Czech defenseman in the NHL. I have to say that as I watched him in the World Championship, he was an incredible player. I hope and believe that he will help us. He’s also an excellent guy for the team and a lot of our defenders can learn a lot from him,” says Ruzicka.
Hronek has “only” two incomplete NHL seasons behind him, but he’s already earned an important position on the Red Wings team. He should stand out among other Czech talents who will play at home due to the delayed start of overseas competitions.
“Without debate, he’s the best Czech defender. Even if he could only play in one game for us, we would be happy. But let’s hope that he plays as much as possible,” says Hradec Kralove captain Radek Smolenak. “On the other hand, he’s still a youngster and we can’t think that he’ll win all our games. We have to help him, too.”
Hronek returned home after four years away. In the 2015-16 season, he played 40 games for Hradec in the Extraliga, but he’s come a long way.
Now all that remains is for him to meet high expectations.
“It’s a huge reinforcement for our roster. Nothing against anybody else, but even in practice you can see that he’s at a level above everybody. It’s an experience for all players and really a schooling,” adds Smolenak.