DanVladar is most comfortable when he’s around his teammates, talking to whoever will listen. It’s a personality trait he adopted from native Czechs, a result of often playing with older teammates who embraced the lanky goaltender.
His frustration was boiling when he arrived in the United States for the first time in 2015 to play for the Chicago Steel in the USHL and he was unable to speak English. He felt he couldn’t connect with his teammates, on the ice or in the dressing room, so he was determined to learn quickly.
"If I only used swear words, I'd be fluent in 50 languages," he joked.
Vladar picked up English by binge-watching shows like "The Office" and pausing it to Google words he didn’t know.
“I just wanted to talk, and for the first time I couldn't talk. I was pissed,” said Vladar, who was drafted No. 75 overall in 2015. “I like to be around guys. I grew up playing hockey always with 20 guys in Czech. This is my life, and I just enjoy every moment in the locker room.”
From Chicago to the Providence Bruins, to the Atlanta Gladiators in the ECHL, Vladar has endeared himself to his teammates. He has a big personality to match his 6-foot-5 frame, which he's used to block opponents’ shots at a rate that has earned him a spot with Providence this coming season. A full year in the AHL would bring Vladar, who is attending development camp this week, one step closer to the big club.
The Bruins, meanwhile, know they’d be lucky to have him, both for his talents on the ice as well as the contagious energy that his teammates feed off, no matter what team he plays for.
“He lights up the room when he comes in. His energy is unbelievable,” said JamieLangenbrunner, the Bruins director of player development.