Red Wings prospect Martin Frk has a lot of what hockey scouts call upside. To realize his potential, he will have to listen, learn and labor his way through the development process.
Story by Mark Newman People are not born hockey players any more than people are born artists, writers or doctors. Some people may be naturally more creative or think more scientifically than others, but ultimately it’s experience – perseverance, practice and purpose – that allows one to rise in a chosen profession. As a top prospect of the Detroit Red Wings, Martin Frk has a lot of natural ability. Ask Frk (pronounced ferk) about his cannon-like shot and he will tell you that he has no explanation for it, almost as if he was born with a hockey stick in his hands and could blast pucks through the back of the net at birth. “I don’t really know,” Frk said. “I didn’t do anything special – nothing at all. It just came like that.” Frk wasn’t born with skates on his feet, but he came close. Growing up in the Czech Republic, he went skating on a lake with his father for the first time when he was only 2-1/2 years old. His first practice was when he was three, and he 42
didn’t exactly embrace the notion of playing organized hockey. “My dad said I didn’t like it,” Frk chuckled. “When my parents bought my first gear, they said I didn’t like wearing it because I only liked skating in my pants, which is kind of funny now. Fortunately, I got to like hockey as I got older.” His skills continued to progress the more he played. One would assume his shot improved with time and strength, but Frk cannot specify anything out of the ordinary that would explain his ability to already shoot the puck with pro-caliber authority. He admits that he spent a lot of time studying other players. “When I was in the rink, I liked to watch the older guys,” he said. “It was fun for me to see what they did on the ice.” In time, others started watching Frk. At age 16, he was the leading scorer for HC Karlovy Vary in the Czech Extraliga and he skated for the Czech Republic in the Under-18 World
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