Czech ice hockey star of Romani origin and NHL draft pick moves to new domestic team
Dominik Lakatoš, the 22-year-old ice hockey forward, is moving to Vítkovice after spending 10 years playing for Liberec in the junior leagues. The player, who is partially of Romani origin, was the champion of the Czech Extraliga in 2015 and its second-best player in 2017 and 2019.
In 2016, Lakatoš played for the Czech team at the junior championship and became the Extraliga's best rookie that year as well, followed by a ranking as the league's most productive junior player in 2017. That year he was drafted to the National Hockey League's New York Rangers.
"Altogether I've been here about 10 years. I have unforgettable memories of it, I basically grew up here. I got to know brilliant friends and people here whom I will probably know for the rest of my life. I can't even describe how grateful I am to the leadership, including Filip Pešán, who gave me the chance to play in the best league in our country," Lakatoš said in an interview for the Bílí Tygři Liberec team's website.
"Dominik has done an unreal amount of work for our club and he knows the club has also done a great deal for him. He helped us win the title and played two finals with us, for which he deserves great thanks. We're going our separate ways now because Dominik has to take the next step in his career. His performance last year in our colors was not optimal, so we agreed it is necessary for him to change his environment, become independent, and carry on his performance from previous years," Pešán said.
Lakatoš received offers from several clubs, but chose Vítkovice. "I picked Vítkovice, it seemed the best decision to me. Not only do I know Mr Petr, but also Honza Výtisk is there, I'm looking forward to him," he said.
"Under the current circumstances in our club, Dominik Lakatoš is the optimal choice for us. He's a young player who also has enough Extraliga experience from the most difficult championships there are to see. In addition, we personally experienced working with him on the junior representation," said Jakub Petr, the main trainer for Vítkovice, who led Lakatoš previously as a coach for the under-20 representation at the 2016 World Championship.
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