Drafted 13th overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft, Pavel Novak took the WHL by storm last year.
The 5’10, 170-pound winger appeared in 55 games for the Rockets, posting a team-leading 58 points (28G, 33A), 33 penalty minutes and a +10 plus-minus rating. He finished fourth in CHL rookie scoring, eight points back of Kingston’s Shane Wright.
In late July, Novak played in three games with the Czech Republic’s U-20 team against Slovakia, posting a pair of goals. The games are used to help determine its roster for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Hockey Canada announced last week that the 2021 WJC will be played in Edmonton, Alberta from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 without fans in a bubble.
With the start of the Western Hockey League season delayed, Novak has been loaned to HC Stadion Litomerice that plays in the Czech2 with men. He has appeared in four games for Stadion, collecting a pair of assists and two penalty minutes.
Fellow WHL import players Simon Kubicek (Seattle), Matej Toman (Swift Current) and Filip Koffer (Prince George) are also playing for Litomerice.
Novak is the only Rocket listed on the NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters for the 2020 NHL Draft, ranked 85th he’s projected to be drafted in the third round.
Originally scheduled for June 26-27, the NHL Draft is will take place on October 6 and 7, 2020 and will be held virtually.
We recently checked in with Novak to see what he has been up to and hear more about his preparation for the upcoming draft.
KR: How was your summer?
PN: Summer was interesting. We had two reunions with the national team, unfortunately after the second meeting where we won three of three games we had to go into quarantine. Otherwise, I spent the summer with my family and girlfriend.
KR: What did you do to continue training?
PN: There were quite strict measures in the Czech Republic, so we were at home for a long time. I trained alone at home in the garden and with my fitness trainer and in July I moved to the ice.
KR: You had a strong year for the Rockets last season, what was your favourite moment from your rookie season in North America?
PN: Thank you. The first home game and the game when I scored a hat-trick against Prince George was a great experience for me.
KR: What do you miss the most about Kelowna?
PN: I miss the great fans, I miss our team and my billets Thomas and Laura, who are like family to me.
KR: We now know now when the NHL Draft will happen, are you excited for that to take place?
PN: Of course, I would like to be drafted as much as possible. I’m really looking forward to the draft day.
KR: Have you talked to quite a few NHL teams, did they ask you any weird questions?
PN: I’ve talked to a lot of teams I think. There were a lot of interesting questions, but one team had something like a psychology test that was challenging.
KR: You’ve been loaned to HC Litomerice in the Czech2 league and have resumed playing. How does it feel to be back on the ice and playing against men?
PN: It’s great to be back on the ice, training and playing matches. Playing with men is challenging, but I have to get used to it.
KR: Other than being drafted this season, is playing in the World Juniors a big goal of yours?
The World Junior Championships is a great attraction for me, I hope to get on the team and play in it.