From the MasterCard Memorial Cup website.
Moving 5000 miles from home at the age of 18 would certainly carry its share of challenges and uncertainties. Factor into that equation a whole set of unfamiliar surroundings, people, and a totally different language, and the transition that Michael Spacek made from Pardubice, Czech Republic to Red Deer, Alberta in the last 12 months is quite the life overhaul.
That’s where Rebels teammate and Czech native Adam Musil comes in.
Since day one, the two have been thick as thieves as Musil, the son of former NHL defenceman Frank Musil, has assisted Spacek in all facets of life on this side of the pond.
“I come and Adam really helped me because my English wasn’t good,” said Spacek, who through Musil’s translating help has made leaps and bounds in his proficiency of the language since Septmber. “All I could really say was ‘hi, how are you’ and that’s it. Now I feel like my English is getting better and I study every day.”
Spacek, a fourth round pick by the Winnipeg Jets last summer, has had Musil, a fellow fourth rounder to the St. Louis Blues, helping him learn the routine on and off the ice.
“I was born in Canada while my dad played in North America and then when I was three I moved back to Czech Republic and I spent about 12 years there,” said Musil. “Then I got drafted to Red Deer and me and my family moved back to Canada. I didn’t know a lot of English when I came here either, so it’s been nice to help Michael with his challenges.”
Spacek transitioned from the Czech first division on an Olympic-sized surface last year to playing on smaller ice in the WHL. He scored 18 goals and added 36 assists for 54 points in 61 games as a rookie this season.
“I played with men last year and the players there are very strong and smart,” noted Spacek. “The WHL is very quick hockey though and you have to think fast on the small ice, which is better for me I think.”
At 5’11”, 185Ibs., Spacek gets around the ice well. On the contrary, the 6’3″, 196Ib. Musil plays more of a power game down the middle, creating room for himself with his blend of size, strength and skating ability. He communicates regularly with St. Louis Blues amateur scout and former Rebels defenceman Jesse Wallin.
“St. Louis has been great with their feedback and I feel like I’ve made improvements to my game,” said Musil, who recorded 19 goals, 24 assists and 43 points in his third WHL season. “It’s always good to get advice when you didn’t have a good game or to hear good things when you’ve done something well.”
Musil has been happy to lend a hand in his role as friend and translator to Spacek.
“I know what it’s like to be in his shoes when you have something to say but you don’t know how to say it,” he said. “He’s a pretty talkative guy and helping him communicate has been a lot of fun this year.”