He was the top scorer for the Colorado Avalanche at the Rookie Faceoff Tournament, and that strong play has carried over into main camp for the Avalanche. After scoring 90 points in 64 games in the QMJHL for the Cape Breton Eagles, Ivan Ivan is ready to start his pro career.
So far, so good.
He might only be on an AHL deal at the moment, but if he keeps up the strong play, an entry-level deal with the organization could be in his future..
I had a chance to talk to him before his first NHL preseason game on Monday, so get to know the 21 year old forward a little more.
How He Prepared This Summer Knowing He Was Turning Pro:
“This summer, I had a longer offseason, because last year, we had World Juniors camp. So this offseason, I had like 13 weeks off, so we were working a lot in the gym, trying to get stronger and trying to the body recovered, because I played like 100 games last season.”
Feedback after a strong performance at Rookie Camp:
“I think I did a good job. Obviously, people were happy, but still there’s a lot of work in front of me, and it was against players my age, so I’ve got to be better.”
On Playing In The Preseason against NHL players:
“It’s really exciting. It’s almost like a dream come true. So yeah, it’s great. It’s a great experience for me.”
If his Family Will Stay Up To Watch His Games:
“Well, it’s going to be 3 AM in the Czech. I think my dad and mom will watch. My brother is probably going to go to sleep because he has school. Yeah, they’ll try to watch, but it’s 3 AM, so I don’t blame them if they don’t.”
The Story Behind His Name:
“A lot of people ask me. I don’t think there’s anything funny about it. My dad, his name is Mark. And Ivan is a first name in Czech. He (his dad) said he gave me that because I have it easier now. In the school, it was tough with teachers and stuff. I think it’s pretty special and I don’t mind it. Sometimes, people are a little bit rude, but I don’t care about them.”
On what he wants to stand out about his game:
“I think I’m a good skater, a really good skater. I’m a smart player, so I’m trying to be smart on the ice, and make nice plays for other players. My skating, I kind of think is really special.”
Difference between playing in QMJHL and what he’s experienced so far:
“I thought it might not be different, but it was really different, especially the first game in the rookie tournament. I was trying to get into the game, but it was tough. The first two periods were really tough. It was super hot and I was tired. The pace is quicker, it’s definitely way more physical, and the people are way stronger.”
What it’s like being around Avalanche staff:
“It was great. Everybody here was so nice to me. Great experience for me, and I’ve loved it so far. Everybody is really nice to me. I’m here, obviously, with Maros (Jedlicka), he’s from Slovakia, so we kind of speak the same language and we used to play together when we were younger.”
How he decided on the Colorado organization this past summer:
“I think since January, there was a couple of teams talking about me. I think it was one of the best offers, and I’ve always been a Colorado fan when I was younger, like crazy. When Colorado won the Cup, I was super excited. It was one of the things for me, I guess it’s meant to be because it’s Colorado. And it’s really nice here, really like the people here, and it’s really nice around here.”
Big fan of Avalanche legend Milan Hejduk?
“Oh, I loved him.”