Championships, victories, a contract with the Anaheim Ducks, awards as best goalie of the season 2019-20 and most recently as the best player of the month October – at the age of only 20, Lukáš Dostál has already achieved a lot and would have every right to boast about himself. However, the Lukáš I talked to is in fact a very modest, down-to-earth person.
In the interview the ice hockey talent tells how he came to play ice hockey, his experiences in Finland and what is close to his heart outside the sport.
Lukáš discovered his interest in ice hockey at the age of five when he tried ice skating for the first time on frozen farmland in his Czech homeland. At the age of six, he received his first hockey practice lessons, and like all little players, also Lukáš was ambitious to score the goals. But at the same time, he realized that he wanted to be different somehow and describes himself more as the quiet child who never pushed himself into the foreground. Finally, when his team lacked a goalkeeper, it was Lukáš who volunteered for the position – and from then on things took their course.
Right from the start, he was supported by his parents. Actually, they only wanted their son to be active in his free time, but then he started to show great potential as a goalkeeper, and soon Lukáš was not just playing for fun anymore, but professionally.
First, he got to play in the second league in Czech, then even made it into the highest Czech team, but when things didn’t go so well there, he returned to the second league. At this point, a new chance opened up for him in the far north: And that is how Lukáš Dostál came to Finland in February 2019 to play for Ilves Tampere.
This was not only a big life change but is also one of the most important highlights in his career so far: “Without Ilves I wouldn’t know where I would stand now.” Other highlights included winning a game in sixth or seventh grade, winning under 18 and under 20 championships with Brno, and winning under 18 against Canada and Russia as total underdogs.
When asked what his best memories with Ilves are so far, Lukáš answers in one word: Everything. The team, J-P, Lasse Laukkanen (to name but a few), the victories in difficult matches like against Tappara – and above all the fans. “The Ilves fans even made a song for me, I think that’s pretty unusual,” he comments visibly flattered.
Outside the sport, when he’s not on the ice, Lukáš learns Finnish in the afternoon and tries to spend his free time with his girlfriend and get some rest. He likes to go for walks outside and has discovered something new in Finland: “Avantouinti” – ice hole swimming.
The team trains every day, the only free day is Sunday. When you train so much it is very important to relax, but there is one more thing that is vital to him: “I want to grow as a person, too. I don’t think everything in my life should be about ice hockey, that’s why I also want to train my brain and always try to learn something new”.
Hearing all this, some might wonder how he manages to balance ice hockey with his private life. In Lukáš’ case, it is a fixed daily schedule. Of course, sport is the top priority in this schedule, because it is crucial to him to give his best on the ice.
For the future, he dreams of playing in the NHL one day and helping the team fight for the cup. And this dream is also one of the reasons for Lukáš to get up every single day. “Every new day gives me the chance to do my best, to get better, and to learn new things. You never know what the new day will bring.”
But for now, his focus is on doing his best for the Ilves team. “I just want to be satisfied with myself; know that I did everything I could. Some things you can’t influence, the only thing that is in my own hands is how I perform and how I can become better.”
Finally, Lukáš Dostál directs his last words to all the fans out there:
“You are great, and I am so thankful for the way I was welcomed here and taken into the Ilves family. Thank you so much for supporting Ilves!”