(Photo: Krista Patronick)
David Krejci, a center with the Boston Bruins, who is currently injured and spends his game time watching from the press level, was willing to take some time during an intermission of one of the games to chat. I took this opportunity to learn more about the beginning of his career, his dreams and what he thinks about Boston and the Bruins‘ fans.
Born in the Czech Republic, Krejci comes from a hockey family. His dad used to play hockey and has also been a hockey coach.
“When I was a kid my dad used to take me to watch the hockey games all the time and that is basically how my hockey career started.”
Like many boys, he did not enjoy going to school and didn’t like learning. His priority was always to play hockey. Despite not getting to actually watch NHL teams on television that didn’t stop him from knowing that this was where he wanted to go.
“When I was a kid, you couldn’t watch the NHL on TV in my country, because it was not on TV, so even though it was my dream, I thought that it was unreachable,” Krejci shared. “My dreams were mainly to represent my country at the World Hockey Championship and to play in the Czech hockey league. The NHL was unreachable for me, but now I am playing in the NHL. I achieved that dream and I am very happy about that.”
At the age of 18, Krejci left his home in Sternberk and found himself playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on the Gatineau Olympiques before ultimately earning his way onto the Boston team. Krejci shared that for him the hardest thing about moving from the Czech Republic at such a young age was the language barrier and that he was in North America without his family. Everything was unknown and new for him.
“However when a hockey player from Europe wants to succeed here, he has to go through it, no matter if he is 17, 18 or 25 years old,” he said. “It is the only way that you can succeed in the NHL.”
Though he is now in his ninth season with the Bruins, he can still remember his NHL Entry Draft Day and when he was chosen by Boston. He knew that the Bruins wanted him, so he did not expect any other teams to select him. And even though he knew that it would be the Bruins organization that would call his name, when that moment actually came, it was a great feeling and a huge moment in his life. However the moment when he realized that he had truly achieved that dream he had as a child—that dream of playing in the NHL—that moment would come later.
“The NHL has such a system, if you play good in your first NHL season, after some games the general manager tells you to find a house or an apartment, which means that they want you to stay and they count on you to play in the NHL,” Krejeci explained. “So when they told me [this], I could not believe it. But it was a great feeling and it was that moment when I realized that now I had achieved [my] dream to play in [the] NHL.’
But of course it is not easy to remain successful. You have to prove to the team’s management, the guys you play with and to a degree the NHL that they all made the right decision. As such, even a player with the skills that Krejci possesses, he must continue to work hard to get better and better, because there are so many hockey players who are just waiting for the same opportunity to play in the NHL. Krejci thinks that discipline is the most important thing for a hockey player to succeed. Players must make the choice at a young age—usually around the age of 17 or 18 years old—that same time when boys also start to pay attention to women and parties.
“This is when you have to figure out if you really want to play hockey for the money and if you do then you have to put away things like parties, alcohol and women,“ he stressed. “Discipline is so important and if you have it, it will reward you in the future.“
Coming from Europe, there were so many things that Krejci had to adjust to, not just a new language, in the new communities he would call home. He did not let those things get in his way or defeat him as he continued to aim for his dream.
“If you have a dream, follow that dream. Keep your head always up even if there will be some negative things,“ he said. “But never give up. And you have to figure this out when you are young, around 17 years old or maybe even younger.“
For hockey players all that hard work is worth it when they play at the NHL level, but is especially validated once they win the Stanley Cup. The trophy, which is not only the biggest trophy that can be won in sports, is also the hardest one to win. Krjeci won the Stanley Cup with Boston Bruins in the 2010-2011 season and for him was just a beautiful moment, and one that he would like to experience again.
And while winning the Cup again is definitely one of his goals, he also wants to be a better person. He wants to help people more.
“I am at the age when I have realized that I want to help people, and helping people makes me happy.“
Even though David is a native of the Czech Republic, he enjoys living in Boston.
“I really like Boston, it’s a beautiful city, especially during the summer. I also really like that it is a sports city, I am a big fan of the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics,“ Krejci said. “Obviously I watch Patriots games a lot too, when I have free time, me and my teammates will watch together. It’s such a classic American Sunday, watching the Patriots game and having a beer.“
It certainly sounds like he has embraced his hockey home. However, there is one thing about Boston that Krejci is not a fan of and that is the winter. However, given the amount of snow that Boston has seen this year, there are many people who are not fans of winter.
And as to the fans, the interview would not be complete if I didn’t ask him about the Bruins‘ fans.
“Our fans are hard, which is good because it pushes us forward. When they are not satisfied they let us know and that pushes us to be better every game,“ Krejci stated. „This season, it is not working as we want, but it is important to get to the playoffs right now. So we are working hard to get to the playoffs, not just for us but mainly for our fans.“
After nine seasons with the Boston Bruins Krejci feels like it is his second home and he would not mind his entire career with this team. There are a lot of Bruins fans who likely would not mind that either and would be happy to see him stay with the Bruins team.