(KHL) (Igor Oslic) KHL-in trips are special Medveščak captain Mike Glumac is very grateful and pleasant interlocutor. With the captain of the club in Zagreb we spoke about the current season, and about his beginnings and his career. After three seasons playing in Germany for the Adler Mannheim he went 2013 to the KHL (Kontinental Hockey Legue) to Zagreb.
Mike, tell us about yesterday's match.
I must admit that I was afraid. Before Neftekhimik you played a fantastic match against Ak Bars and I expected decline against Neftekhimik. Yeah, when you get one of the top league teams such as AK Bars is expected to come to discharge and that is to be feared. But we have entered great into the match. Neftekhimik is also a great offensive team where play some former players of Medveščak. They are also looking for their place in the playoffs but we played a very good game and come up with a new victory.
Was it a bit strange to see former teammates Gilbert Brule and Geoffry Kinrade playing for the opponent's squad?
Yes it is a bit strange, one week you're here, next week playing for another team, but it is so. This is professional hockey, professional sports and have its legality. We're friends off the ice, but during the game we are opponents.
How satisfied are you with the current season?
It was ups and downs as well as in each season. It is important to limit the crash and that as much as possible playing at a high level. We play now domestic series and it is important to win points at home because next week we go to the guests large teams. Whenever you get a chance you have to win points. Every point is important, every victory brings three points and a few good results raise your rankings. Away we could come up with some important points, but at home we are in good form.
You had a lot of problems with injuries?
That's another thing you have to get used in professional sports. We lost some players, but when it does others must make a contribution.
Let's talk now a little about yourself and about your career so far. You were born in 1980 in Niagara Falls, Canada, near the border with the United States?
Yes, it is close to the border with the United States, about an hour and a half away from Toronto. At 16 I moved to Toronto, where three years I played in junior leagues Toronto. Then I went to a small town north of Toronto, and later at the University of Miami in Ohio.
When you decided to become a hockey player, as a child or ... When you are a child in Canada it is a logical choice?
All kids skates and everyone wants to play hockey. I was lucky that I was able to become a hockey player and have a career that lasts for quite a long time and I am happy about that.
You mentioned your move to study in the United States. Does the university have a good hockey team?
Now they have. When I played there they did not have a successful season. But this is really a great university with great professors and campus. When I played there had been an old rink, but the atmosphere was great. A few years after my departure, they built a new rink, a university has become one of the best in the country when it comes to hockey. I studied your career so far and I saw that you were not selected to the NHL draft. I am still waiting for it (laughter). At the university, and I had some very big numbers and had to make do otherwise.
I started in the ECHL and then managed to thrive. You went step by step. After ECHL you played in the AHL. Yes, after a season in the ECHL I was able to move forward and NHL club St. Louis Blues noticed me. I had a contract with them for five years, and three years I occasionally played for them. I was able to fulfill my dream and played some games in the NHL, and there score goals.
As I said, I studied your career, 40 NHL games, 7 goals, 13 points, but a lot more you played in the AHL in 464 matches, 336 points. Really a very good career.
Yeah, it was great fun. I played hockey for a living. My goal was to play in the NHL and I was able to play and there briefly. I played with many great guys and in the many beautiful cities.
When you have decided to come to Europe?
It was always in my mind as well as my wife. We wanted to get to know other countries, cultures, we both love to travel.
And you're done in Germany. 137 games in the DEL, the 98 points in three seasons in the Adler Mannheim.
Yes, the club with a good organization, there I was well, I spent three years at the club. In Germany my twins were borned so from there we have really beautiful and fun memories. I met many great people. What's great in Europe is that there are so many countries that are close to each other. Mannheim is in a good position. From him nothing is too far away and everywhere quickly arrives.
A lot of different countries, cultures, languages in such a small space.
Yeah, it's amazing, especially for me who come from North America, which is huge but everything is more or less the same. You can go there for hours and hours, but mostly you see more or less the same culture and way of life. In Europe, passing the border and certain countries is like entering into another world.
After DEL-and you've come to the KHL. Your fourth season in Medveščak, second season in which you are the captain. How did you end up in Medveščak?
They contacted me from the club in the summer when they decided to enter the KHL. I came with a family in Croatia, had the opportunity to get to know a new country, its culture and customs. It was an opportunity I did not want to miss. We spent here and a complete summer on the coast, met interesting people, culture and customs, and it was really nice.
You played in North America, DEL and now KHL-in. Could you compare these leagues?
Which its particularly in KHL are the tripps. In America, we traveled an hour by plane, in Germany on tours went by bus, but here when we travel for example in Vladivostok we change 9 or 10 time zones. This is a great challenge and change the time zone is not easy. You do not have time to get used to, just play the game and you go on. This is perhaps the biggest difference with the league where I had previously played.
Can you compare the DEL and KHL in terms of quality?
There are good teams in both league and good players. As for the differences all the Russian players are always dangerous when they are in possession of the puck. Against them, you should always be at the maximum level, because they are able to sanction any relaxation. This is a little scary how Russian players are skilled with the puck.
This is your second season in which you are the captain of Medveščak. Great responsibility I guess but also a great honor?
Yes, definitely an honor to be chosen to lead the team. This is serious. Fortunately, here is a great group of players. We all get along together in the locker room. This was the case in my every season here in Zagreb.
The teammates obviously believe in you when they choose you to be a captain.
Yes, they expect me to work hard and try. In this way I try to lead the team. I'm not the type to yell in the locker room. I'm more the type who will lead the team by example on the ice and they are aware of it.
Do you have any plans after the end of your playing career. What would you like to do, be a coach maybe?
That's always an option. I understand that hockey will always be part of my life. It will be difficult to replace the atmosphere of the locker room and talking with my teammates. I think it will be the most difficult change when I stop actively playing. Well, we'll see what will happen in the future.
The lucky you are married, father of three children. How important is arranged family life for a professional hockey player?
Very important. Our children can slowly grow and gain new experiences in life. I would like to travel the various parts of the world. Since I was 27 years old I live in different countries. This is the third different country in which I live. They are still very young but already this is their second country in which they live. I would like to gain life experience traveling around the world. Now they are not yet aware of it because they are too small, but I hope that it will become more and more aware of how they grew up. We are different and we are really happy to have any children. My wife is great. Here we are more separated due to travel which in Germany has not been the case. She is really great mom and wife and takes care of all of us. Its hard for us when we're apart. Modern technology makes the situation little easier, but it is difficult to be separated from them.
Mike, thank you very much and good luck in the season and your further career.
(Foto by Krume Ivanovski)
KHL (Kontinental Hockey League)
The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL; Russian Континентальная хоккейная лига / Continental Well Chokkejnaja league shortly russian КХЛ) is the top division in hockey Russia, also attended by teams from other Central Asian and European countries take part. The KHL-winner will receive at the end of the season the Gagarin Cup, named after the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
Dinamo Minsk, Dinamo Riga, Jokerit Helsinki, Medvescak Zagreb, SKA St. Petersburg, Slovan Bratislava, Spartak Moscow
Vityaz Moscow, Dynamo Moscow, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, Severstal Cherepovets, Torpedo Novgorod, HC Sochi, SCKA Moscow,
Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, Ak Bars Kazan, Lada Togliatti, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, Traktor Chelyabisnk, Ugra Khanty-Mansiysk
Avangard Omsk, Admiral Vladivostok, Amur Khabarovsk, Barys Astana, Kunlun Red Star Beijing, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Sibir Novobirsk