Living a long way from home the ice has become a place of solace for one playerSilvertips player calls Lake Stevens home BY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER Hockey, in one form or another, has been played since ancient times dating as far back as 4,000 B.C. in Egypt, Rome, and South America.
Hockey is a fast paced and exciting game with a relatively large fan base in the Northwest made up of fanatical fans that enjoy aggressive fast paced action.
Just about every hockey player lived and breathed the sport as a young child, learning to skate on ice at a very young age was common, and wielding a stick and knocking something that resembled a puck around on the ice, part of a child’s play.
Locally, the Everett Silvertips hockey club is part of the Western Hockey League (WHL) which formed in 1966.
Made up of 17 Canadian teams and five U.S. teams from Washington and Oregon, the 22 clubs have found great success as an organization and stepping stone for many young players.
For one budding player on the Everett Silvertips, Daniel Bartek has traveled a long way to call Lake Stevens his home, and is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Sporting the number 29 jersey, Bartek was recently acquired in a fourth round bantam draft choice from the Brandon Wheat Kings.
“He has been a Silvertip for nearly two months after we acquired him from the Brandon Wheat Kings,” said Jon Rosen, PR person for the Silvertips.
Born in the Czech Republic, Bartek says that he has been playing hockey since he was five years old.
“It was my parents who brought me to the rink when I was young,” he said.
Learning to skate and play hockey, Bartek had to make a decision on what position he was best suited for.
Speed, agility, and size play a part in every player and team as to where they would perform best.
“I started as a center in minor hockey then when I came to North America they put me on the left wing,” Bartek said. “But last year I finished the season on the center again.”
He continued, saying that with his skills he is capable of playing into any forward position if needed.
Head Coach, John Becanic says that he first looks for a skater’s ability to perform on the ice.
“When evaluating a player I look first of all to see if he can skate as that is the game of hockey,” said Becanic. “After that, I look to see if he has any hockey sense. Does he read the game, can he transition from offense to defense and vice versa. Lastly, does he compete and work hard on and off the puck.”
In Bartek’s case, he says that he skates extremely well, is very coachable, and his work ethic is second to none.
“He has the ability to play at high level over sixty minutes.”
The uniqueness of the WHL is that the league gives players like Bartek an opportunity to travel the world, see many unique places, and make many friends while earning a scholarship to go towards any college in North America.
“For every year you play in the WHL, one full year of a college education is paid for. Because Daniel will have played for three years in the WHL, he will have three years of a college scholarship paid for,” Rosen said.
Though considered a senior in the WHL his potential for moving on and playing professionally in Europe will be his option after playing this season with the Silvertips.
There is still plenty of time to watch the excitement and action on the ice with the Everett Silvertips.
“It’s an exciting game to watch and play,” Bartek said.