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The Well Done Man – David Krejci
Only from WDB, The Well Done Man is a biographical interview with a Bostonian who is doing exceptional things. It is meant to give our readers insight and knowledge into each interviewee’s vision of success and how, beyond their obvious talents, they have reached this point in their lives and careers.
We recently sat down with David Krejci, center for the Boston Bruins. David came to Boston from the Czech Republic when he was 18 years old and he is now in his 9th season with Bruins. In 2011 he was a key member of the Bruins Stanley Cup winning squad. He also played on the Czech national team in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. He was awarded with The Golden Hockey Stick in 2013 which is given to the top Czech ice hockey player around the world.
We all start out with a vision: of ourselves, our future, our goals. Was your vision always to become an NHL hockey player? How did you get started with hockey?
I am from a hockey family. My dad used to play hockey and later he was also a hockey coach, so when I was a kid he used to take me to watch the games all the time and that is basically how it started. When I was a kid, you couldn’t watch the NHL on TV in my country…I mean it wasn’t even on the TV, so eventhough it was my dream, I thought that it was unreachable. My dreams were mainly to play in the Czech hockey league and to represent my country at the World Hockey Championship. The NHL was unreachable for me but now here I am playing in the NHL so I have achieved that dream and I am very happy about that.
Was there a tipping point? In your case that moment when you realized that you achieved that unreachable dream, which in your case it was not so unreachable.
The NHL has such a system, if you play good in your first NHL season, after a couple of 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. So when they told me after only a couple of games to find an apartment, I could not believe it. But it was a great feeling and it was that moment when I realized that I had achieved that goal to play in NHL.
You came to the USA when you were only 18 years old. Was it hard at such a young age to come to the US by yourself? What was the hardest part?
The hardest thing about coming here to the US at such a young age was the language barrier, since I did not speak English well and also the fact that I came here alone without my family. I came to a new world, everything was unknown for me. 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. It is the only way that you can succeed in the NHL.
Is there anyone who has helped you or inspired you during your career? What do you value most about that person?
There are many people who have helped me during my career. All the coaches who have coached me from my childhood untill now. I really appreciate that they gave me not only positive advice but also the negative which helped me a lot. I have to mention coach Kužílek who coached me in the Czech Republic when I was playing in Trinec. He helped me to go from a junior hockey to senior hockey in the Czech leagues. I would also like to mention my coach from the Gatineau Omypiques who prepared me for the NHL. There are so many people who have helped and have inspired me.
What do you think is the most important for a pro hockey player to be successful?
Being successful starts with discipline. Especially around the age of 17 and 18 years old when you start to pay attention more to women or 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. Discipline is so important and if you have it, it will reward you in the future.
What do you think makes a woman well done? How does she stand apart?
My Well Done Woman is for sure my wife. She is a brunette. I really do not care if it is a brunette or a blonde, the important thing is that we found each other, I knew it when we first made eye contact. She is American, not that I was looking for either a Czech girl or an American girl…My wife is definitely my Well Done Woman.
You are a role model for many young hockey players. Do you have any advice for them?
If you have a dream, follow that dream. That is the most important thing. There will be always be positive and negative things on your way to achieve your dream but the most important is to not fall down, keep your head up and follow that dream, no matter what. Stay on the right path, and stay disciplined while you are following that dream. It is also important to start paying attention when you are young, like 17 years old maybe even younger.
The Stanley Cup is one of the biggest trophys you can win in the world of sports. It is said that it is also the hardest to win. You won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins in the 2010/2011 season, what are your memories about winning the Cup? What are your current goals?
When you are playing during the season and then later during the playoffs you try to concentrate only on that individual game and opponent. In 2011 that is what we tried to do…then suddenly you’re in the finals, and you win, and you have the Stanley Cup above your head in your hands. Just like during the season, in that moment you can’t really think about what it means. But you realize that after a while. You realize what you achieved, how hard it was and how beautiful it was at the same time. Those feelings are just indescribable. My current goal is definitely to win the Stanley cup again. I want to experience it again. I would also like to be a better person and help people. You have to give back and I am at the age when I have realized that I want to help people more.
Hockey players and cars have always been somehow connected. What is your dream car?
Actually I am driving the SUV Porsche Cayenne, which I really like. I used to have sports cars like a Ferrari or Porsche, but I like the SUV….the way they make them now they’re just like sport cars.
Do you remember what you bought with your first NHL salary?
I remember exactly. I bought a car. It was a Mustang convertible. It cost $16,000 dollars. I bought it when I first came here from overseas. I was young, it was summer and I really liked the car, it was awesome.
This is your 9th season with the Boston Bruins. How do you like living in Boston? Do you have any favorite places in Boston where you spend your free time?
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. I am also a fan of the Revolution. They aren’t as famous, but I’ll go to watch them at Gillette Stadium like two or three times per summer. 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. The only thing I do not like is winter, I am not a fan of the winter.
Boston can be a tough place to play, what do you think about the fans here?
Our fans are hard, which is good because it pushes us forward. When they are not satisfied they let us know and we obviously hear it and try to do our best to be better every game. This season, it is not working as we want and this is unusual for the Bruins, but it is important to get to the playoffs now. Right now we are working hard to get to the playoffs, not just for us but also because of our fans.