Mysak: “I’m happy to be here”
by Lucas Aykroyd|11 AUG 2022
Forward Jan Mysak (#19) is serving as Czechia's captain for the second straight World Juniors.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Jan Mysak never expected to be competing in his third IIHF World Junior Championship in August at age 20. But these are unusual times, and the Czech captain has learned the value of adaptability and perseverance. The sharp-shooting Litvinov forward captured an OHL title with the Hamilton Bulldogs this year and just fell short in the Memorial Cup final in New Brunswick with a 6-3 loss to the host Saint John Sea Dogs on 29 June.

Now, Mysak – a second-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens (48th overall in 2020) – has one more chance to break a Czech medal drought extending back to 2005’s bronze.

Mysak chatted with reporters after Czechia’s exciting 5-4 victory over neighbouring Slovakia to kick off the 2022 World Juniors in Edmonton.

On the choice of Karel Gott’s “Dam delovou ranu” as Czechia’s goal song

It's from a famous singer. He's a legend in Czechia, but unfortunately he passed away [in 2019]. So it's the biggest story of him. We decided to choose that song because we had it at the U16 and we liked that. So we thought we'll come back with it.

On his determination to play at these World Juniors

I had it in my mind right after the [cancelled] World Juniors in December. I knew I'll come back. Now, I wasn't sure if I'll be able to play. But thank God, I'm able to play, and I'm happy to be here. Fighting for my country is a really good thing. I like it! You never know what's gonna happen during the season, right? There's injuries. Maybe some bad things. You never know. So I'm happy to have the privilege to play here.

On bouncing back from a 2-0 first-period deficit to edge Slovakia 5-4

We weren't nervous. The thing is, at the start of the season, sometimes you do mistakes, and that's okay. All we have to do is just do what the coach tells us, and it's going to work. So at the start of today’s game, we didn't do the things that our coach said, and [it was 2-0 for Slovakia]. So when we sat in the locker room, [we said to] just do the things we always do and it's gonna be okay. And we scored a couple goals and it was okay. 

On the opportunistic goal he scored against Slovakia to make it 4-2

I just tried to skate. I think Michal Gut passed it to me, to the open space. And I tried to skate and I saw I saw the hole. I skated around the D and just shot it. I just had a feeling. I was shooting on the blocker side and it went in.

On facing the Finns on Thursday at Rogers Place

It's gonna be harder. Obviously, we played them in Finland like one week ago. I didn't play in that game. But I was watching in the stands and they have a really good team. It's gonna be a challenge for us, but we love challenges. So let's go for it!
Jan Mysak (CZE) - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship
Get to know Czech captain Jan Mysak.
CZE 13 AUG 2022
On whether he feels pressure due to heightened expectations in his third World Juniors

I'm trying to enjoy it, right? I'm here to fight for my country. I don't feel pressure. I just feel this is exciting for me, because I saw many legends who played for the national team before me, who won championships in Nagano and all this stuff. So for me, it's a privilege and I'm happy to be here.

On having Jiri Kulich as his linemate

The best thing is that he's a really good skater. He's quick, fast, and his shot is excellent. So for me personally, I try to skate with him and when I find him, he's going to score. That's what I know.

On what he did after the 2021/22 season

I went back to Czechia to see my family because I had like two weeks off. So I spent all the time with my family. And then I came back to Finland with our national team and I spent time with them to get back in shape and be ready for for this tournament.

On the challenge of preparing for these World Juniors at an unusual time of year

It's kind of harder than back in December, right? Because the season was on. Right now, I had like a few days off. I didn't do anything. I just rested after the Memorial Cup. Then I came here and I was just skating all the time. So I don't feel perfect, but I feel that I'll be there as soon as possible. So it's good.

On what he’s learned over the last year-plus since captaining Czechia at the 2021 World Juniors

I feel that during that time, you learn many things. I was lucky to be part of an OHL championship team. So I learned many things, and I tried to take all those things to this locker room. You know, many guys didn't have this opportunity like I had this season. So I try to show them how it's working, how hard it is to win.

On what he did during the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal

I went to Montreal and spent time with my agent. He had his players: David Jiricek, Tomas Hamara. So for me it was a great time, because I didn't have a draft! I was home, so I spent time with them to support them and it was pretty good. Especially when the trades were on, it was crazy.

On Montreal’s decision to draft Olympic MVP Juraj Slafkovsky over the highly touted Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs, who went fourth to the Seattle Kraken

For me, I see Juraj Slafkovsky as a really strong player. I played a whole year against Shane Wright. So for me personally, if I were the GM, I would take Slafkovsky. I didn’t see him yet, so I'll be excited to talk to him soon.

On his future goals

My main thing right now is this tournament, and the next step is the NHL camp.