BRATISLAVA Ė Petr Tenkrat must be one of the best-travelled athletes at the 2008 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship. Not so much becuase of his inline hockey, but thanks to his ice hockey career. In 14 seasons, he has covered five countries, played for 12 clubs and represented the Czech Republic in two IIHF World Championships. The IIHF staff on-site in Bratislava met up with the worldly player after Czech Republic beat last yearís bronze medallist, Germany, 7-6.
How did you get involved with inline hockey?
I played the game for the first time eight years ago. I was asked to represent the Czech Republic in inline world championships but was not happy with my performance and decided to quit. Last summer, my friends asked me to join a practice in my hometown and since it was my buddies, I didnít have to give it much thought, and was skating along them. I noticed that inline hockey is perfect practice for ice hockey and since itís played during summer, it also serves as great summer practice.
Describe the status of inline hockey in your country.
It is steadily growing. I can see a future for inline in the Czech Republic. Most of the players are ice hockey players but I donít think that is a threat to inline.
How would you compare ice hockey to inline hockey?
There are a lot of things that are the same. Since the game is played 4-on-4, there is more space and shots. This suits me, since I love to shoot and always try to get myself into a position where I can take a shot!
What is the biggest challenge facing inline hockey in the Czech Republic in the future?
That is a very good question... I think we just need to make sure that the game keeps growing and that we get the younger generation involved.
What are your impressions of Bratislava?
I have a lot of friends living here, so itís always a great place for me to come to. I would recommend visiting downtown, because thatís where Iíll be! Enjoying a beer and a chat with my friends!
The Czech team is loaded with fire-power gathered all the way from the NHL! The Hemsky brothers, Ales and Paul, are not only idolized by a lot of Slovakian inline hockey spectators, but also by a lot of the players in Bratislava. Ales Hemsky is often seen in the dressing room corridors posing for pictures with other players.