Periodically during the summer, you will have the chance to ask questions of your favorite Admirals players. Just email your question and it may be answered on norfolkadmirals.com! Make sure to check back periodically to see who will be on the clock next.
The "Catching Up" series begins this week with Juraj Simek
. Simek netted career highs in goals (9), assists (13) and points (22) with the Admirals last season Ė his first with the team. The Admiralsí NHL parent club, the Tampa Bay Lightning, acquired "Simmy" from the Vancouver Canucks on October 6, 2008, along with Lukas Krajicek in exchange for Shane OíBrien and Michel Ouellet. Simek was born in Presov, Slovakia Ė the same hometown as Admirals defenseman Vladimir Mihalik Ė but calls Bern, Switzerland his hometown.
1. How is your summer going?
My summer is going well. Iím in my hometown in Bern. Itís nice here and warm. I spent eight days in Dubai with my girlfriend. That was amazing, nice and warm. That was the nicest place Iíve ever seen. I might go there next year, too. Iím hanging out with my friends, but I will go to Slovakia visit my uncle and cousins, etcÖ
2. What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
My plans are going to Slovakia. I go there every summer to work out. Iím working out there with Pavol Demitra, Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik. Last year, I was in the gym with Demitra and Hossa, so it was pretty cool. This year, Iím probably going to be with Marian Gaborik, working out with him and going on the ice because he has his own rink. Demitra might have surgery with his shoulder, so I donít know what he is going to do.
3. How did you like the season with the Admirals? (B.C., Richmond, Va.)
It was a great season. It wasnt easy for me to come to a new team, but I think the team took me good. It was too bad we didnít make the playoffs. We played awesome in the last 15 games, but it was too late. Hopefully next season we are going to make the playoffsÖ For me personally, the season brought me a lot. I learned a lot and I think Iím a better player now than I was before I came to Norfolk thanks to Rums [Admirals Head Coach Darren Rumble] who gave me lots of ice time the last 20 games.
4. Hockey is a sport that requires a lot of time to train with teammates to learn to play as one, and it means a lot of time together on the ice. What's your favorite memory with the team so far, off the ice? Be it a memorable night on the town or a good prank! (Aaron W., Portsmouth, Va.)
My best memory off ice was when we went bowling with the whole team. That was pretty fun. Or the Super Bowl party was awesome, too, being with the whole team there is great. Itís good not thinking about hockey 24 hours a day. The best memory on the ice was when we beat Binghamton and they didnít make the playoffs. That was awesome and an incredible team effort.
5. What are your goals for next season?
My goals are to play like I played the last 20-25 games. I want to score 20 goals, have an impact on the team and get a chance to play with Tampa. Itís my dream to play in the NHL, so Iím going do everything for my dream.
6. What is your favorite thing to do in Norfolk when you are away from the rink?
I love to play bowling. I might buy my own ball :) My high score is 215 points :) I like to go to the movies, too, and playing X-Box, etc.
7. Who was your biggest influence when you were growing up? (Connie Parker, Virginia Beach, Va.)
I always looked up to Jaromir Jagr. He was an awesome player. He was probably the best player in the NHL in his best times. But when I got older, I looked up to Marian Gaborik because I like the way he plays. He is a fast skater and a good shot. I think I have good upsides, too. Iím fast, too, and a good shot. So I try to improve and try to be like him. I have a chance to get better because I will be working out with him and skating with him.
8. Kale our son would like to know if Juraj had fun in Norfolk this year. Yukon says hi. (Brian Bercier, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada)
This is my favorite. These are the best billets on earth:) I had a great time in Brandon. I always have fun because I love hockey, just like Kale. Say hi back to Yukon. I miss him. He is the best dog ever, and you three were awesome, too. I will talk to you later.
9. You were born in Presov, Slovakia - the same hometown of Vladimir Mihalik. Did you know Vladi at all growing up?
No, I didnít see Vladi growing up because I left Slovakia when I was three years old. But we were on the national team together (under 16), so I have known him since we were 16 years old.
10. When and why did you move to Switzerland?
I moved to Switzerland when I was three years old. We left our country because my dad was a professional handball player and he played for the national team of Czechoslovakia. He was one of the best back then. So he got an offer to play in Switzerland. Thatís why I live there and started one year later with hockey.
Thanks fans for the questions! I am looking forward to next season. I wish you all a good summer. Take care and see you soon!