It’s all fun and games until you get popped in the mouth. When right winger Dominik Bokk took to North American ice for the first time this fall, he realized he was a long way from Europe. Bokk suited up for the Blues at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in Michigan, where eight NHL teams had their youngsters do battle. Usually, players who will be spending the upcoming season in Europe don’t play at the tourney, but the Blues wanted to let Bokk know what the game was like over here. “These are hard camps for young guys,” said assistant GM Bill Armstrong. “It’s the first time they’ve really been in the grind. We wanted to get him that experience.”
That experience included a smaller ice surface where there’s no place to hide. “It’s different hockey,” Bokk said. “I can feel it pretty hard, the game is much faster, much tougher. It’s hard to get into the game because I’m not used to it, but it’s a good experience for me.”
A German who played in Sweden last year, Bokk will return to the Vaxjo Lakers program, where his mission is to stick with the SHL squad as long as possible. Last year, he split time between the big club and its junior team. “He can make plays, and he has a ton of skill,” said Armstrong of Bokk, who the Blues drafted 25th overall last June. “He thinks the game at a really high level, and he has the ability to score at the same time. We love his skill level, his speed, his creativity with the puck.”
In the meantime, Bokk needs to get stronger and raise his compete level. Along with taking on a bigger role in Vaxjo this year, Bokk could also help Germany’s world junior team get promoted to the top level, assuming he’s not too busy in Sweden. Either way, the kid is proud of German hockey and loved the most recent Olympic results. “It was four in the morning because of the time change in Sweden,” he said. “It was awesome to watch. They played really good hockey.”
This story appears in the Prospects Unlimited 2018 issue of The Hockey News magazine.