Miroslav Mucha moved to the United States from Slovakia as a 16-year-old. He joined Shattuck St. Mary’s and spent two years there before joining the Minor Minotaurs of the NAHL. The 3.75-star prospect recently committed to Lake Superior State.
Neutral Zone caught up with Mucha to talk about his decision to move abroad, his development and why he chose the Lakers.
Neutral Zone: How and when did you start playing hockey?
Miroslav Mucha: It was in 2001 when my dad bought me my first pair of skates so I was three years old then.
NZ: What’s your earliest memory of playing hockey?
MM: When I made it to the Pee Wee Tournament in Quebec where I played at the big stadium and also played against Connor Mcdavid there.
NZ: What was your youth hockey experience like?
MM: It was very good, made a lot of good friends and coaches who helped me to get where I am now!
NZ: How did you decide to move to the US and attend SSM?
MM: It was always my dream to play in the U.S., so I came here, tried out and got picked. Also, I wanted to play hockey and study at the same time!
NZ: What was the toughest adjustment in that move?
MM: That I had to leave my family as a 16-year-old and move on the other side of the globe.
NZ: Who helped you through it the most?
MM: Definitely my teammates, who were helping me with my English and homework, and [there were] also a lot of activities that kept me busy so I didn’t really have time to think about not having my family.
NZ: How did you end up in the NAHL?
MM: After my Shattuck career, I went to the Youngstown Phantoms to their training camp. Since you can have only four import players on the team I ended up getting cut and then the Minot Minotauros picked me up.
NZ: Take us through the NCAA recruitment process. What other schools were you talking to and where did you visit?
MM: It was a longer process for me, and to pick the right place wasn’t easy, It took a lot of phone calls, and I believe I made the right decision! I talked to other schools like Michigan Tech, Alabama Huntsville, Alaska Fairbanks, Umass Lowell, RPI and couple others, but Lake State seemed like the best place for me to go. Actually, one of my teammates from Shattuck is playing there and also our goalie Jack Robbel is going there.
NZ: What made you decide to commit to LSSU? What went into that decision for you and your family to know it was the right place?
MM: They told me it will be good place for me, they told me a lot about the school, and all I heard was something I wanted to do.
NZ: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen while playing hockey?
It would be probably one of my Pee Wee tournaments back home when the game got intense and it got intense in the stands when parents from both teams started arguing with each other, and it led to a fight where the game had to be paused.
NZ: What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s given you in hockey?
MM: It was my U18 coach, and he would always tell me do something every shift so you deserve next one and that you are only as good as your last shift.
NZ: What are your best on-ice skills?
MM: My skating, my size and puck control.
NZ: What aspect of your game are you working on improving the most?
MM: There is always a lot to improve, but I’m focusing on not turning the puck over on the blue line and make simple plays, which I will need to be good at on the next level.
NZ: Is there a professional player you model your game after?
MM: I watch a lot of different players, like Sidney Crosby and his puck protection game and McDavid and how he moves on his ice, always looking for open ice, but I would have to say Marian Hossa.
NZ: Who’s been the biggest influence in your hockey career?
MM: Definitely my dad and my family, they push me and support me all the time! When it’s not going my way they always cheer me up, they have done a lot for me and I can’t thank them enough for this unique opportunity in my life.
NZ: What advice would you give to someone who’s considering moving abroad to pursue hockey?
MM: To be ready, physically and mentally and work hard and do extra.
NZ: What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced in life?
MM: Definitely that I don’t get to see my family for the most of the year and miss a lot of great memories that I will never get to experience with them. But I chose this way, so I just have to keep following my dream and never give up.
Photo Image: Hickling Images