USA Hockey Magazine

August 2017

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36 // AUGUST 2017 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM Dan Vladar is one of those younger players. A goaltender drafted in the third round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins, the native of the Czech Republic is in his first season as a pro, beginning the year with the Providence Bruins before heading to Atlanta. Vladar is one of the young players who has followed Murovich's lead. "Derek Nesbitt and Tyler Murovich are doing a great job of helping me out," Vladar said. "They are always staying positive and helping me out with everything. I can see that they work extremely hard every day." Vladar has high expectations on his shoulders. One prospect report in 2014 mentions he could become the next great goalie out of the Czech Republic, following in the footsteps of players like Dominik Hasek and Tomas Vokoun. Learning the ropes from a seasoned minor leaguer like Murovich has helped his cause. Veteran players are even willing to stay after practice to help him make improvements to his game. Fenton said matching up young players with seasoned veterans is no different than putting a child in a position to grow up the right way. "It's no different than putting a baby in the right environment," Fenton said. "You have to approach it as if these players are your babies and you are trying to nurture them to another level." Murovich understands the sacrifices and hard work that go into being successful in a sport where hard work is crucial to success. He still recalls the help he received as a rookie nearly a decade ago, which is why he is so willing to help the next generation of players. "I was lucky enough to play with a lot of good players my first year," Murovich said. "They taught me about the little things, the attention you have to have to detail. Playing with guys that are older and smarter than you also helps you learn more about the cerebral part of the game. Now that I am in that position as a leader, I am realizing how important it is to help out other players." Part of that role includes helping young players adapt to the up-and-down world of pro hockey that includes switching teams and getting used to not only new teammates but to a new city as well. Murovich understands the challenges that come with the sometimes unstable life of a minor league hockey player. Between the 2010-11 campaign and this season, he has played for five different teams, with the 2014-15 season being the craziest as he divided his time between Gwinnett, Orlando and Wheeling. He admits it's not easy dealing with it at times but he leans on his past experience to help others through the transition of moving to a new team. "I tell players you have to find out where you fit in with every team you are on. Some teams may have you fit into a different role and take on different responsibilities. You may be counted on in a different way," Murovich said. "But being in those different roles helps you round out your game." For Valdar, the adjustment comes with added challenges. For start- ers, he's only 19 years old. And being from another country means he has to get used to an entirely new way of life. "Every day is just a great day to get better and to learn from the older guys," Vladar said. "I enjoy every minute at the rink and I am always trying to improve myself as a person and as a player." Murovich loves to see young players, particularly rookies, take pride in putting in the work to be successful, and he enjoys doing his part to help them along on their journey. It's in his nature to lend a helping hand considering his work in the offseason coaching at the ice rink his family owns in the Steel City. At the same time, he remains focused on his own professional goals, including his pursuit of one day playing in the NHL. "I am going to continue doing what I am doing and only worry about what I can control," Murovich said. "I'll keep playing hard every day and hopefully I'll get a chance to earn a call up. That's still my goal and it will be my goal as long as I am playing hockey." P Brian Lester is a freelance writer based out of Pensacola, Fla. School Of Hard Knocks YOU WANT TO FIND GUYS WHO ARE GOOD PEOPLE, FIRST AND FOREMOST, AND PLAYERS WHO ARE GREAT LEADERS AND HAVE A DESIRE TO WIN AND HELP OUR YOUNG GUYS OUT."

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