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What Makes Hlozek Tick?


Bojovnik
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Riga Reign defenceman Jan Hlozek is soft spoken and rarely reveals much, but in a sit down interview with Lifestyle magazine, the Czech sensation told us what he likes to do when he’s  not on the ice.

 

Hlozek moved to the Latvian capital a season and a half ago, one year after being drafted by the Reign in the first round of the S77 VHL Entry Draft.

 

He impressed in his debut campaign, finishing second in rookie scoring, and the promising Czech dynamo has said previously that he is becoming ever more comfortable among the VHL’s elite.

But we’re not here to talk about hockey, right?

 

LS: So Jan, thanks for speaking with us today. Tell us, what sort of activities did you get up to as a youngster?

 

JH: Thanks for having me. Well, growing up in a small village in the Czech Republic, there’s not a lot you really can do other than run around and play sports. We had a lake that froze for a bit in the winter, so we played there, and during the summer, we played a lot of tennis, went on hikes, that sort of thing.

 

LS: What is life like in a place like Topolna?

 

JH: It’s nice. I missed it while I was away in Saskatoon and Miami. Not only is it difficult being far from home, but places like Topolna are super close knit. Everyone knows everybody. My dad makes wine and other alcohol at home, so we always had friends come on over and visit when I was a kid.

 

LS: What sort of alcohol are we talking about?

 

JH: There’s a saying in Czech, if you grow it, you can make alcohol from it. We have all sorts. Maybe you will now things like slivovice, which is a brandy from plumbs, or hruskovice, which is a brandy made from pears. My dad has all the equipment. His speciality, in my opinion, is a cherry brandy that he makes. That’s my favourite, and I’m always asking him to bring some with him now that he can come to my games more often.

 

LS: Speaking purely in terms of off-ice activities, where’s the best place you’ve played in the VHL or VHLM so far?

 

JH: I mean, there’s not a lot you really can do in Saskatoon. The people there were amazing, so welcoming, but there wasn’t really a buzz. Miami, of course, is the absolute opposite of that. I would say there’s even too much that you can do. There’s so many distractions, always something going on. In that sense, Riga really feels comfortable for me. It reminds me a bit of Prague, in that the architecture is beautiful and it’s got that sense of familiarity. Plus, the food here is great, and there are also some good bars if you want to relax.

 

LS: Run me through an ideal off-day for Jan Hlozek

 

JH: I know that I’m not Finnish, but I love the sauna. Well, sauna and steam room, whatever. I like taking care of myself, so in the morning I’d want to go down to a hotel spa and get a massage, sit in the sauna, steam room, pool, just take time to get my head together. We play hard all season so it’s tough to get the time to really take care of yourself. After that, some nice food, Vietnamese is my favourite, and then honestly just relax. I like going out for walks, maybe playing some backgammon, speaking to friends at home. I’m a quiet guy normally, I like to keep to myself a lot of time when we're in season.

 

LS: What did you get up to this offseason, apart from training?

 

JH: I know it’s been tough to travel what with COVID and everything, but like every good Czech kid, I had to go to Croatia. It’s our number one holiday destination, I kid you not. There’s films and everything about it. I’m lucky to have the opportunities that I am, so I was able to drive down to Split and get the boat over to Hvar. For me, that island is paradise. I don’t need the Maldives or Bora Bora or whatever. For me, I try to get to Hvar as much as possible.

 

LS: With hockey players these days, branding yourself is vital. Do you have any business interests that you’re pursuing at the present time?

 

JH: This is a field that I’m just getting into, now that I’ve established myself and have some companies or businessmen come to me with proposals. I co-own a set of hockey schools back at home, but I also want to move into clothing. I know some designers here in Riga who are interested in launching something, so I’m hoping something comes of that.

 

LS: So you’re into fashion then?

 

JH: I mean I try to be. I guess I like sneakers most of all. That’s something we didn’t really have a lot of in the Czech Republic, access to nice sneakers, so when I turned pro, that’s something that I allowed myself to get into. It’s like its own subculture and it’s own world. I can literally spend hours researching or trying to find a pair of rare shoes. I guess it helps me take my mind off from hockey at sometimes.

 

LS: Okay, to finish, a couple of quick fire questions. Firstly, pizza or pasta?

 

JH: Has to be pasta. I can’t live without it and it keeps me going.

 

LS: Coca Cola or Pepsi?

 

JH: I can’t understand anyone who would ever pick Pepsi.

 

LS: Karel Gott or Krystof?

 

JH: (laughs) are you kidding me? How did you research these old Czech guys. If I’m honest, I don’t like either of them, but if I had to pick one…. I guess I’d have to go for Karel Gott because at least he has a legend around him.

 

LS: Slavia Prague or Sparta Prague?

 

JH: Neither of them. I will flat out say that now. I was born as a fan of Zlin, and I’ll be that way until the end.

 

LS: Thanks for joining us Jan, best of luck for the rest of the season.

 

JH: Much appreciated.

Edited by Bojovnik
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