Dallas Stars first-round draft pick Radek Faksa has come a long way. His hometown of Opava in the Czech Republic is more than 5,400 miles away from Big D. But he's also come a long way as a hockey player.
Faksa has been through a lot. His mother raised him by herself and struggled to pay for his budding hockey career. But at age 11, the young star was given an offer to play in the Tøinec Steelers system and stayed there for several years, developing his game.
Faksa then went on to play for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League and led all rookies in scoring in 2011-12 with 66 points.
In June, he became the 13th overall pick in the NHL Draft and arrived in Dallas about a week ago. Here are some of Faksa's thoughts about his new life as an NHL player:
When did you begin playing hockey? I began skating when I was 3 and started playing when I was 4.
What was your experience like playing hockey in the Czech Republic? I started in my hometown and I stayed there until I was 11, and it was a great experience because those coaches there helped me take the first steps in hockey. It was very tough the first year, but after that it was a good experience for my future.
What was it like being drafted by the Stars? Everything was great. I was with my family and it was their first time in the U.S., so it was an awesome time.
What is your favorite thing about the Dallas area so far? Just the people here, and it's a beautiful city. I think it's an awesome organization. I'm very excited.
What do you hope to bring to the team? I hope to bring a lot of excitement and help a lot in the power plays.
What do you like to do in your spare time? I like doing other sports, relaxing and going to the [movie] theater.
If you could play any other sport, what would it be? I like lots of sports. It's hard to say, but I like tennis, basketball and ball hockey.
Jon Poorman, 817-390-7760