Center Ondrej Roman is a veteran when it comes to Dallas Stars development camps, but the 21-year-old Czech said there were some new tricks to learn at the latest camp that just wrapped up in Frisco.
“I’ve been here twice already, but we did some new things this year,” Roman said as the week-long camp was winding down. “We learned a lot about what it takes to be a better teammate. That was good.”
Good might not be the word to describe Roman’s 2009-10 season. Challenging might be a better option.
The fifth round pick (136th overall) in the 2007 NHL draft, got bogged down with contract issues in Czech Republic and, as a result, he got bounced around to various levels of Czech Hockey. By the time the Stars got him signed to a deal and over to North America it was too late – under AHL rules - to get him on the roster of the Texas Stars for the stretch drive and playoffs.
"We were able to get him signed and over here, but really in a sense it was a lost year,” said Les Jackson, Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development.
But the Stars and Roman tried to make the best of the situation. Although Roman couldn’t play with the Texas Stars, he spent time in Cedar Park and practiced with the team. That gave him a chance to see what the Texas Stars were about, how the team played and to get some guidance.
“I stayed on the ice after almost every practice with the coaches and we worked on some things,” said Roman. “I think I will pretty ready for the season.”
And Roman also got to spend some time with Dallas strength and conditioning coach J.J. McQueen.
“I think that was the silver lining of all this,” said Jackson. “He's a light kid and he needed that, so we were able to salvage that part of it.”
Roman said the condition work was a big help. So was the time in Austin area, where he is expected to play next season.
“I got a chance to meet everybody there, make friends,” Roman said. “I know what I am going to go through there next season. There will be no new things for me as far as going to Austin.”
Playing and living in North America is nothing new to Roman, a skilled playmaking center. He spent two-and-a-half seasons in the Western Hockey League playing for the Spokane Chiefs. In 2008 he registered 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) in 21 WHL playoff games as the Chiefs won the league championship and picked up 2 assists in 4 games as Spokane won the Memorial Cup.
He’ll start his North American pro career this coming season. It’s a year later than he and the Stars would have liked, and Roman is hoping to make the most of it.
“I’m ready for the camp,” he said. “We’ll see where it takes me.”