Today the Milwaukee Admirals conducted a full practice at the BMO Harris Bradley Center following last night’s 4-0 shutout loss to the Lake Erie Monsters. With how the January schedule is setup I was planning to go in and conduct some more interviews for this feature series Fifteen and stockpile them for the month ahead. Instead, the interviews were so good that they have forced my hand. And I’m divvying up the three interviews I did today over the next three days.
As I’ve said in regards to this feature: I want you readers and fans involved. I’d love to interview as many players on the team for this feature as possible but it’s even more fun being able to provide for you the players you want to hear from ASAP. I’ve formed a list of all the requests and I’m getting through that list. So, keep participating and keep the names coming.
The very first name that came up after the debut of Fifteen with Colton Sissons was goaltender Marek Mazanec. That was the top request. And this is his interview. Of note, for those listening into the audio, I don’t censor anything. What’s said – is said. So keep that in mind.
Admirals Roundtable: What were your inspirations to play hockey?
Marek Mazanec: Well, I don’t know. I started skating since I was three-years old and I just went with it. My father was a hockey player. My uncle was a hockey player. We were a hockey family. So that’s probably it.
AR: What point growing up did you realize you were going to be doing this for a career?
Mazanec: Probably when I was fourteen and [HC Plzen] picked me up from my hometown and I moved there. I was fourteen and I lived by myself. I kind of realized that I probably have some skill and I should probably pay more attention to my hockey career.
AR: Who was the first famous player that you ever met in the game?
Mazanec: That’s a tough question. I met a lot of players. There was a lockout in the NHL so a bunch of players played in the Czech league. I played with Tuukka Rask. He was on my team [HC Plzen]. That was pretty cool. I played against [Jaromír Jágr]. (AR: Jágr would be up there.) Yep.
AR: What would you say is your greatest hockey moment?
Mazanec: Probably when we won the championship in Czech [2012-13 Czech Extraliga Championship]. (AR: I remember seeing the trophy. That trophy was gigantic.) Yeah, it’s huge. It’s all one, sixty-years old trophy. (AR: Like the European Cup they have in the Champions League that looked like three times the size of that.) It’s a big one! It’s heavy, too.
AR: Now, I ask most guys what is the most memorable goal they’ve scored. You were close to actually getting on that last year with a long shot from the net scoring a goalie goal -but- what would you say is the most memorable save you’ve made?
Mazanec: I’m not the kind of goalie that makes like highlight reel saves. So, I don’t know. I never make like huge saves for highlights. I made one for Nashville my first year here. It was against Pittsburgh. I think it was.. (AR: Don’t you have a profile picture up with you and Sidney Crosby?) Yeah, but he actually missed that puck. It was a [James Neal] shot I think. I got pulled out right after that. (AR: So, when you went to Nashville did you tell him anything about that?) No, I don’t think he remembers. Like, he doesn’t really care.
AR: What is the strangest game that you’ve ever played in?
Mazanec: I played a lot of those games. Definitely last night. I didn’t play that game but last night was a pretty weird game. It was boring. That was boring as hell. (AR: It was very slow. We’ve played about seven games in eleven days. They’re on like a ten game road trip. So it came off very slow. But I want to throw out one game to memory, because you had the best audio clip of all last year describing it, when Magnus Hellberg got into a fight that had to be up there as far as strange games.) That was, yeah, that was strange. I was just like sitting comfortably behind the glass and the Magnus was leaving the ice and was like, “Maz! Go!” I was like, “F*** no! I’m not going in! Finish it.” There was like ten-minutes to go, it was in Charlotte, and we lost that game. I was like, “Hey, thanks Magnus.” I think we were up like 3-2 and, right when I got in, they scored then they scored again I was like, “Oh my god. Thank you Magnus. Boy…” I played another one last year when I got called up. I was in Montreal and I was leaving Montreal at like six in the morning. I was backing up Magnus and Magnus got pulled out after like four-minutes. It was 2-0 for [the Utica Comets]. (AR: I remember talking to you after that game. audio clip one – audio clip two) We won that game like 3-2 in a shootout. (AR: You were running literally no sleep.) Yeah, I slept like two hours.
AR: What’s the most embarrassing hockey moment in your career?
Mazanec: I don’t have any of those actually. Do you know about something? (AR: I don’t!) I think it happened to me my first year in training camp. We played against Florida. They dumped the puck on the glass and I went chasing it. It hit the stanchion, bounced in front of my net, and they scored on an open net. That’s kind of embarrassing but nothing I can do about it.
AR: What’s the most painful moment that you’ve had in hockey?
Mazanec: What you mean, like, hurt? Well. I’m a goalie you know. No one is beating the sh** out of me. I never got hurt. I got hit on my collarbone. That’s like four-years ago. That was pretty bad but nothing serious. (AR: I imagine the worst thing that can happen is getting those shots around the head area that catch you unaware.) Yeah, but that’s what we have gear for you know.
AR: What are your favorite uniforms in hockey?
Mazanec: I like our jerseys. I like those baby blue with the old logo. I really like those jerseys.
AR: Who are the funniest players that you’ve met?
Mazanec: Funniest player. [pauses] You mean like he looks funny on the ice or in the locker room like being funny from there? (AR: Being funny -BUT- if you want to do both.) Funniest player on the ice, like most funny I’ve ever seen, was for Chicago last year [Brent Sopel]. That was hilarious! Watching him it was hilarious. I had so much fun watching him playing hockey. Funny guy in the locker room? Jamie Devane is a pretty funny guy. It’s hard to say honestly because I didn’t speak English for two-years so I didn’t know what was funny or not. I didn’t understand them. But, this year, Jamie – Jamie is a pretty funny guy.
AR: What’s your favorite aspect of Milwaukee?
Mazanec: I think the people here. All the people like to have fun. It’s amazing because the weather here sucks. I hate the weather. It’s so cold outside. And people are still positive, they still like to have fun. (AR: Yeah, real winter hasn’t even kicked in yet.) Thank God, but I’m still freezing out there.
AR: What’s your favorite food?
Mazanec: It’s a Czech food: oven roasted duck with dumplings.
AR: What’s your favorite non-hockey hobby?
Mazanec: I don’t have a lot of those -but- I really liked working on my house this summer. When I was young and I was working on my dad’s house I hated it. But then I bought my own house and I started working on that and it’s fun. Much fun this summer.
AR: What’s your favorite non-hockey memory?
Mazanec: Definitely when my daughter was born. (AR: Were you able to make it in time for the birth and all that because I know you left quick.) No, I got there two hours late. I was getting on the plane in Nashville and my girlfriend went to the hospital. (AR: Still, that an incredible moment and they were here for the holidays too right?) Yeah.
AR: What are your plans after hockey?
Mazanec: Well, I would like to stay in hockey. I’d like to be a goalie coach or something like that.
Thanks to Marek Mazanec for toughing it out, answering fifteen, and being his typically hilarious self. Tomorrow will see Max Görtz in Fifteen followed by Scott Ford on Friday. Who would you like to hear from next on Fifteen?