Tough decision at very young age pays off for Stars’ Radek Faksa
Most 11-year-olds in the United States rely on their parents to drive them to and from sports practice. But when Radek Faksa was 11 years old, he was not asking his parents for a ride. Instead, he moved from his native city of Opava in the Czech Republic to Trinec, a city 90 kilometers away, to live in a dorm room and play for HC Trinec as he pursued his hockey dreams. Faksa left Europe six years later to play junior hockey in North America.
After Faksa was selected 13th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft, he looked like he would be on the fast track to the NHL. Instead, Faksa had to battle through illness and a knee injury, then he suffered a shoulder injury the next season and had to miss the final half of the year.
Now 21 years old and healthy, Faksa's sacrifices are paying off as he is starting to find his place with the Dallas Stars. Faksa's first game with the Stars came on Oct. 17 against the Florida Panthers, meaning Faksa had a chance to play against a man he calls his “idol”, Jaromir Jagr.
Although Faksa has no points in his first four NHL games, the Stars have been so impressed with his play that they are willing to give him valuable minutes.
“I want to make him feel important right off the start and give him a role where he feels like he is going to play,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff told the team website. “He played head-to-head with [Sidney] Crosby and head-to-head with [Evgeni] Malkin and he did a real good job.”
Faksa plays a thankless role currently as a fourth-line center, but he told the team website he does not pay attention to labels and simply hopes to play well across the ice.
“I want to be a good player in the offensive zone and defensive zone, be a 200-foot player,” Faksa told the team website. “I want to play power play and penalty kill, too. I want to be the type of player the coach can use me everywhere.”
Given how much Faksa went through to make it to the NHL, his perspective on where he fits in on the roster makes sense. But if Faksa keeps impressing the Stars, there is no telling how far he can go.
(h/t Dallas Stars)