Great leadership, but miserable faceoffs. Dominik Rehák's features
Just almost two weeks before, they faced each other, each on the other side, nowadays one is the boss of the other on the same side with the mutual goal. We’re talking about the captain of Slovak under-18 ice hockey national team, Dominik Rehák and head coach of Victoriaville Tigres, Yannick Jean. Before Rehák’s arrival to the city in Québec province, Slovakia U18, with Dominik on its roster, played at Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament against Canada U18, which was led by head coach Todd Gill and whose assistant was Yannick Jean.
Before that match between Slovakia and Canada, both met each other while watching the do-or-die game between Switzerland and Sweden which determined the last semifinal spot. “I just wanted to introduce myself, and he wanted to do so,” Jean reply on question what was the theme of their interview. “I did not have much time to talk to him before, at the same time I did not want to interrupt him, when he was focusing on the game and his stuff,” Jean continued. Victoriaville head coach but appreciates this appointment. “I’m happy that there was an opportunity to talk to him. We were talking little bit about his own performance and also whether everything is OK with his arrival to Canada,” Tigres’ head coach added.
Dominik Rehák (Photo: Jakub Homoľa)
Rehák approved the topic of the interview. “Just general stuff that I’m looking forward to playing there, about the last game which I was not satisfied with. He was asking also about my family, just those things, nothing what I did not expect.” However, 17-year-old native of Žilina was apparently in a good mood prior to the game. “I told him we would win game against Canada. He just began to laugh (smile).” But Rehák was almost right as in 57th minute Slovaks were still leading by two. And what was the finale result? I guess you all know it.
Rehák in that game showed two great slapshots which proved the qualities of Canadian goaltender, Eric Comrie. He did not score, though. But what would happen if Rehák scored a goal? Would Jean punish him somehow? “Definitely not (laugh). I wished him all the best in that game. I think he played really well and I’m happy about that,” Jean says with the smile on his face.
Dominik answer the same question in little bit different way. Sure, he was much more uncertain than Jean. “Well, I don’t know. Definitely it would help me,” Rehák says, but at the same time he adds that it would help me only in short time during the first days in his stint in Victoriaville. “I have to prove my skills and show what I am capable of there, not just here in Piešťany,” Rehák claims.
Yannick Jean (Photo: Mário Petlák)
As a proof of this statement serves also his little bit surprising answer on question whether he had special motivation prior the game against Canada. “I wanted to do my best and show my skill in whole tournament, but I can’t say I prepared for this game in a special way. Definitely not. I was surprised as well that I just play my game without any stress.”
Since Dominik played for Slovakia, Yannick Jean was interested in the game of Slovak team, too. In those game, as he admitted, he followed his new player. “I saw all Dominik’s game in round robin,” Jean said. 36-year-old head coach of tigers from Victoriaville noticed especially Dominik’s leadership skills, which he had to show as he was named as a captain of Slovak team. “Dominik is a character player, and thus we’re happy to have him in our team. He is still only seventeen, which makes us even happier,” Jean added.
The only goal of Dominik Rehák at Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament (Author: Pavol Baláž)
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At the same time Jean added the fact, that Rehák is a captain of Slovak national team, doesn’t automatically mean that something like that will be expected from him in Canada, too. “I can’t expect from him he will be the leader in Victoriaville from the first second,” he says. Dominik is dealt with that and knows it as well. “My position will be totally different. At the beginning, I will be like nothing there, thus I will have to do my best to move up in their system. I do know that Victoriaville has great captain, who was also drafted in NHL draft last year. His name is Phillip Danault. I just go there to play my hockey and we’ll see what happens later.”
But what is not right now, could happen some time in the future. “Look at the other European in the team, Czech Petr Šidlík. He is eighteen already and he will play second season in Victoriaville. I think he could be one of our leaders. Dominik has a great potential to be our leader once in the future. Maybe it will be next year, maybe we have to wait two years. But definitely it is pretty clear to see his leadership qualities,” Jean says.
Even though Jean was not disappointed with the Rehák’s performance at Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, Dominik was not pleased very well. “When I was talking to him before the game, he told me he is not satisfied with his own game. He said he could be better, we’ll see it,” Jean says. Yannick Jean is aware of some complications, which is connected with Dominik’s arrival to Canada, too. “It will be huge adjustment for him to adjust for example to shorter rinks in Canada. It will be hard, but everyone says Dominik will deal with it pretty soon,” assistant coach of Canada U18 national team added.
Yannick Jean (Photo: Jakub Homoľa)
Three games against overseas opponents were for Rehák great experience, as he could expect what he would face in Canada. “It will be hard there. Definitely. But I want to play there in order to learn their style and way of play.” Young center also knows what he is supposed to improve. Especially because he plays on the position of center. “I noticed that I’m not so successful in faceoffs. It’s just the beginning of the season, though. But still, my faceoffs are, I’m not afraid to say, miserable and that’s one of the key situation in hockey,” Rehák added.
Photo: La Nouvelle Union