Welcoming him to the fold, the Calgary Flames had marvelled at Roman Horak’s excitement level.
That, according to his pal, is normal.
“He’s just a very enthusiastic kid and he’s always excited, no matter what,” said Ryan Howse, who’d skated on a line with Horak with the WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins and — thanks to Wednesday’s trade — will turn pro with his chum this coming winter.
“It’s pretty neat. I talked to him (Thursday), with a little email, and he’s pretty excited to come. He can’t wait. He really enjoyed Canada, he really enjoyed the people here. He’s been to a Flames game — we went as a team last year — so he got to see that. And, obviously, with Chilliwack being close to Abbotsford (home of the Flames’ farm team), he got to see a lot of Abbotsford games.”
Howse, a sharp-shooting right-winger, and Horak, a soft-passing left-winger, worked together for two seasons.
But, after their first campaign, the Flames selected Howse in the third round and the New York Rangers grabbed Horak in the fifth.
That’s life in hockey, linemates and teammates come and go. However, when the Flames shipped un-signable Tim Erixon to the Rangers, they got Horak — and two second-round picks — in return.
“Someone we really like,” Flames general manager Jay Feaster said of the Czech youngster. “We like his work ethic, we like his compete. We think he will play in the National Hockey League.”
“We get a player who already has chemistry with one of our other draft picks. He is signed. . . there is no European-return clause in that contract, so he’ll come in here and try to earn a spot in camp. If he doesn’t, he’ll be with our top AHL affiliate.”
Howse and Horak finished 1-2 in Bruins scoring, with 83 and 78 points, respectively, last season.
Howse, a splendid finisher, says he owed a lot of his success to Horak.
“Thanks to him, I got a couple goals this year,” said Howse, who notched 51 in the 2010-11 campaign. “That’s one of his biggest strengths — playmaking.
‘‘He’s easy to work with. Smooth skater, great vision. Very slick. Nice moves, great hands. And don’t count him out as far as scoring a goal here or there.
“It’ll be pretty neat to see how well our chemistry works at a higher level now.”
Barring sensational training camps, the two forwards will embark on their rookie seasons in Abbotsford.
“We spent two years watching each other develop,” said Howse. “Now, turning pro together, it’s special to him and to me as well. I’m excited to have someone close to me, play with me.
A few days old on this article but nobody brought it up.
I especially like the line where Feaster says Horak will compete for a roster spot or goto to the AHL, so maybe he can turn into a nice training camp surprise for us since maybe there is a chance he could make the jump.
Good to hear, its amazing how har a positive and hard working attitude can take a player. Lots of prospects have all the skill in the world but do not have what it takes upstairs which results in them not making it. It sounds like Horak has already developed quite a bit in the last 2 years, I'm excited about seeing what he do in training camp. I think its also cool how his former linemate Howse is here, I'm sure the 2 of them push each other due to an athletes competitive nature, this will only benefit both of them down the road.