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Jan Hlozek Junior Review


Bojovnik
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Name: Jan Hlozek
Position: Defense
Height: 5' 11”
Weight: 180 lbs. 
Nationality: Czech
Previous Team:
Berani Zlin / Czech Extraliga

 

There are some players that are called diamonds in the rough for a season, and Czech defenseman Jan Hlozek is certainly one of them. The puck-moving defenseman was seen to be the next Czech prodigy during his junior career, but a spate of off-the-ice incidents led Hlozek down a different path than the one many experts had predicted.

 

Hlozek hails from the small village of Topolna, known for its fruit growing, near the border with Slovakia. As a junior, he first cut his teeth with HC Bobři Valašské Meziříčí, whose senior team plays in the third tier of Czech hockey, known as the 2. liga.

 

At age 15, he made the switch to Extraliga side Berani Zlin, who play in the region's capital. From there, Hlozek led the team to the U18 title in 2013, scoring four goals in as many games as the team better known as the "Rams" swept HC Sparta Praha in the final.

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Jan Hlozek (right) celebrates a goal in the Czech junior leagues

 

Hlozek made his debut for Zlin's senior team at age 16, and it would take him just three games to find the back of the net for the first time, firing one home on the powerplay in a win against HC Energie Karlovy Vary. He featured regularly for the team in their two straight finals appearances in 2015 and 2016, which both resulted in losses.

 

Many felt that Hlozek was going to move on to bigger and better things, whether in Russia or North America, but the Czech defenseman was involved in a motor vehicle accident on a backroad between Zlin and Topolna, leaving him with a fractured tibia and broken collarbone.

 

Hlozek spent nine months on the sidelines, and many thought that the injury would have a lasting impact on his game, which had previously been based purely on speed and dynamism. Upon his return to hockey, with second-tier side Vsetin, Hlozek looked tentative on his skates and appeared to lack the explosiveness he once had.

 

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Jan Hlozek (right) during his final season with Vsetin

 

However, the blueliner began to mould his game into one that was more well-rounded, becoming noticeably better in his own zone and developing his on-ice vision. Now Hlozek is just as adept driving the puck up the ice as he is threading a pass through the eye of the needle.

 

Hlozek scored 84 points in his two seasons with Vsetin, who finished as champions of the Czech second-tier last season. Instead of making the move back into the Czech top flight, Hlozek has chosen to take his talents overseas, and can now be found with the Saskatoon Wild in the VHLM.

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