Player of the Month
The European Hockey.Net European Player of the Month is awarded to the player with the most oustanding performance over the course of the month
Nominations are collected at the end of each month, then a vote by the site's admin team decides the winner.
February 2005 - Marian Gaborik
If the end of the regular season is any indication of what is to follow, then Dukla Trencin-fans can be in for a real treat. The Slovak giants won eight out of their nine games played in February in the Slovak Extraliga and were on fire.
Especially offensively Trencin's performance was unmatched. They completely shell-shocked Liptovsky Mikulas (12-5) and HK Skalica (10-3), but also defeated competitors HKm Zvolen (3-2) and Slovan Bratislava (4-0). Only HC Kosice was able to put sand in the well oiled machine (0-2).
Whilst Pavol Demitra is probably the most consistent player over the course of the whole regular season (most goals, assists, points and best +/- record this year in the Slovak league) and set some new national records, it was Gaborik who stole the show in February.
With seven goals and eight assists earned him the honours of becoming The European Hockey.Net Player of the Month for February.
Marian Gaborik (Photo: hkdukla.sk)
The 23-year old forward knows who he is scoring all the goals for. Whilst the NHL lock-out has driven players allover Europe, 'Gabby' pleaded loyal to his native city Trencin except for a short-stint in Sweden with Färjestads BK.
But Gaborik does more than just be the ice to show his love for the city. Recently, Gaborik has been involved in a prestigious project. He funded an ice rink in Trencin that will open this summer. The ice rink will be part of a large sports complex and Gaborik will cover all costs: 400 million Slovak Crowns (equals EUR 10 million). His father, Pavol, will be supervising the complex that will be mainly used by youth and is located near a school area that has around 200 students. The land is offered by the local Trencin government and will be used for a large sports and recreation area.
drawings of the 'Gaborik-project'
Gaborik has always been fascinated by the game of hockey. On a cold winter day, young Marian is very excited. His mom has promised him that tomorrow she will take him on his first skating lesson, but the anticipation is getting to be too much. He's sure he'll never make it until tomorrow. "I wanted to learn how to skate so badly," recalls Gaborik smiling at the memory. "My brother (Brano Gaborik who also played for Dukla Trencin and is currently a European scout for the Minnesota Wild) was playing hockey and I wanted to play too. When that first moment of being on skates finally came, it was special and it felt so natural to be on the ice," he told the Minnesota Score.
Despite having always been touted as a very talented player, Gaborik, in his early days, was in the stands to watch the locals hero take on other teams in the Czechoslovakian league. His personal hero at that time was fellow Slovak Peter Bondra. But it didn't take long for Marian to change his position in the stands for one on the ice. Already at the age of 14 he appeared in a game of the Trencin junior team. In the next two seasons he accumulates over 150 points in less than 100 games! But more importantly, Gaborik makes his debut in the first team. Although it is just a single game appearance, Gaborik adds another chapter to his success book, by registering a goal.
There is not much stopping him. He becomes a household name in the Trencin line-up and also at the international level, Gaborik is a top player in his age category. He was touted as going to be drafted first overall, but a less convincing performance at the World Junior Championships in Sweden saw his stock drop. Eventually his name was announced third overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, and Gaborik became the first ever player of the Minnesota Wild, an expansion team.
Even though Gaborik would make an immediate impact scoring the first ever goal for the Wild, the team brass had no idea just how fast he would speed through the NHL's learning curve. "When we drafted him, we knew he was an incredible talent, but none of us would have predicted he would have put up the numbers he has already," says Wild Assistant general manager/player personnel Tom Thompson. "Marian just has a certain flair about him, and when you combine that with his overall talent, you've got a special kind of player, an elite player," he says on Minnesotascore.com The forward quickly made a name for himself in the NHL as well, but prefers the European approach of the game. "Europeans pay more attention to skill development," said Gaborik. "We play games twice a week, and the rest of the week we practiced."
As mentioned earlier, Gaborik returned to Europe now. And his beloved Dukla is making good amends for success in the Slovak Extraliga. The team advanced to the semi-finals after comfortably beating Zilina in 5 games. Their next task will be the top seeded Slovan Bratislava. A tough task for sure, but not a "mission impossible". Because everyone knows that once Trencin's top trio is on fire, there is not much stopping them. But whatever will happen, the fans can count on Gaborik giving 100% every game as Gaborik wants to win silverware now he's back in Trencin. The next opportunity for him to do so might not be coming soon as further NHL glory is looming.
Trencin fans hoping for some Gaborik magic in the playoffs (Photo: hkdukla.sk)
- March 2007 - Petr Sykora
- February 2007 - Bernd Brückler
- January 2007 - Martin Prochazka
- December 2006 - Martin Kariya
- November 2006 - Pavel Brendl
- October 2006 - Kimmo Rintanen
- September 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- May 2006 - Kenny Jönsson
- April 2006 - Aleksei Morozov
- March 2006 - Reto von Arx
- February 2006 - Nicklas Lidström
- January 2006 - Patrick Yetman
- December 2005 - Miroslav Hala
- November 2005 - Vasily Koshechkin
- October 2005 - Tony Salmelainen
- September 2005 - Sergei Zinoviev
- May 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- April 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- March 2005 - Henrik Lundqvist
- February 2005 - Marian Gaborik
- January 2005 - Jaromir Jagr
- December 2004 - Tim Thomas
- November 2004 - Marian Hossa
- October 2004 - Jukka Voutilainen
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