Czech's language no barrier on the ice

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

The kid can play.

He can't speak a lick of English, but he can play hockey.

Yesterday Thomas Vincour scored a pair of goals in the Oil Kings 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets at Servus Credit Union Place in St. Albert.

"The best thing I think about Thomas is his personality," said Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau.

"He's fit in with our guys, he's got a smile on his face all the time, he's interested in the things that are going on around him off the ice and that translates into his game.

"He's comfortable out there, he plays hard and his size and natural skill just take over."

Vincour, 16, was the top pick in the CHL Import draft earlier this year.

The native of Brno, Czech Republic, heads into the season as the Oil Kings' marquee player.

After one game he's lived up to the billing.

"You have to give him a chance to get adjusted to the schedule," Pleau said.

"The schedule is what can get real tough for these guys. A lot of these guys play 40-50 games back home and then they come here and the travel is so tough.

"All those things can take its toll on a player.

"But he's big, so I think we can expect solid minutes from him all year. I'm not sure what his offensive output will be, but I think he'll be a contributor all year."

The six-foot-two, 198-pound Vincour scored the Oil Kings second goal of the game, poking in a loose puck on a scramble in front of the Rockets net.

His second was a thing of beauty, taking a long lead pass from defenceman Tyler Hlookoff, going in on net and sliding a backhand past goaltender Kristopher Westblom.

"I came around the net and I just saw him cutting across the blue line and I just gave him a little saucer pass and it worked out well," Hlookoff said.

"It was a good game. I thought we played pretty solid and it was nice to get the win."


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