If it weren’t for the Czech team winning the Nagano Olympics, Andrej Sustr may not be in the NHL today. In this week’s Getting To Know, Sustr talks about forgetting to take off his skate guards and why he thinks Eric Brewer is the funniest player he’s met.
Status: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman.
Ht: 6-foot-8 Wt: 225 pounds
DOB: November 29, 1990 In: Pizen, Czech Rep.
First Hockey Memory: “I started when I was eight-years-old. So I remember hopping on the ice. Just had no idea how to skate, how to stop. So I was kind of making my way to the huddle kind of crawling on my hands and knees. Obviously, I made a few early steps to get better at skating. And finally I was able to skate on my own a little bit. So it was cool.”
Hockey Inspirations: “Like moments that inspired me? I’ll tell you the main reason why I started playing hockey was because Czech national team won the Olympics in Nagano. So that was a huge inspiration for me to start playing hockey and one day be one of those guys.”
Last Book Read: “I read Journeyman by Sean Pronger.”
Current Car: “A Mercedes G wagon.”
Greatest Sports Moment: “There’s a few…obviously playing my first game in the NHL was really special. But there was also my first game in North America in Alaska was special – and a huge step in my career, to come over here and start playing hockey in North America.”
Most Painful Moment: “Obviously, injuries. Obviously it’s part of the game. But its’ something that you’ve gotta deal with. It always hurts the most to see the guys playing on the ice and you can’t help the team. So it’s one of the worst moments.”
Favorite NHL Uniforms: “I think ours. And I like Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs.”
Most Memorable Goal: “Well, I haven’t scored many [smiles]…I think the one in the NHL is something that not many people can say they scored a goal in the NHL so I think that would be it for me.”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “A few times when I was younger I stepped on the ice with the little skate-guards on. I’d be wearing these skate-guards to not step on stones or get my blades messed up. You’d be excited to step on the ice and next thing you know they see you laying on the ice with skate-guards on. So I think that was embarrassing.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “Can’t really think of anything but…when like somebody falls, toe picks or anything. That gets a little chuckle out of you when you see someone going down in front of you. But there’s so many. It happens quite often. So I think that’s always a good thing to laugh at.”
Strangest Game: “A game when we won like 20-1 or 18-1. That’s the only thing that stands out in that way.”
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “I think it was Petr Sykora, he’s from the same hometown as I am. I believe he brought the Stanley Cup back home, not exactly sure what year it was, when he won it with Pittsburgh. So he was the first one I met.”
Funniest Player(s) Encountered: “I think Eric Brewer. When he starts talking or gets going, you know something funny is going to come out of his mouth.”
Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “I used to play tennis quite a bit. I was playing hockey and tennis at the same time. And then obviously I decided to go with hockey.”
Why Do You Love Playing Hockey: “It’s just such a great sport. You get to play with 20 other guys on your team. A lot of stuff going on. A lot of memories, friendships. It’s great bonding when you’re team is winning. It’s just so enjoyable to see the passion around you. I think it’s just a great, great environment to be in.”
People/Personality Qualities Most Admired: “Honesty. People that are not afraid to tell you their opinion, whether it’s good or bad. I think that’s the best way to approach people. You get to learn a lot.”
Mark “Scoop” Malinowski is the author of two new tennis books: “Facing Federer” and “Facing Hewitt” He’s currently working on “Facing Probert.”