Big brother proud of Pospisil’s play




SaltWire Network


A little over two weeks ago, the last time the Calgary Flames were in Seattle, Kristian Pospisil impatiently watched the clock tick toward 4 a.m. in Brno, Czechia. His younger brother Martin was poised for his NHL debut. Kristian, himself a pro hockey player, was not going to miss it — at any hour. “It was a long wait, but I was so excited that I was almost feeling like I was going to play, you know?” Kristian said. “I was so excited for him and so proud. And when he scored that first goal, I was kind of crying. “It just hit me. It seriously just hit my emotions. Even when I was watching the highlights the next day, when I woke up, it was still emotional for me. I can’t even say why. Probably because of his story, what I know is behind it, maybe that’s why it just hit me. I was just so proud of him.” Martin, a relative unknown as recently as a month ago, has been an immediate hit with the Flames. Heading into Monday’s clash at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, the rookie forward had collected five points — three goals and two assists — in seven NHL outings so far. He’s impressed with his speed and his skill. Since his call-up from the AHL’S Wranglers, nobody on the Flames’ roster has been credited with more bodychecks. Just turned 24, he is certainly pushing to make this a permanent promotion. During a two-game homestand this past week, the wrecking-ball winger from Zloven, Slovakia, made his presence known by bowling over Norris Trophy frontrunner Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks and then flashed his soft hands by scoring on a patient deke against the New York Islanders. On the day he was called up from the farm team, during a get-to-know-the-new-guy scrum with the Flames media, Martin described Kristian as “my favourite player.” “Hopefully, one day, we will play together,” he added. That was always their goal. Kristian and Martin are the second- and third-oldest of five Pospisil brothers. Despite an age gap of three-and-a-half years, these two were particularly close, bonded by a childhood sporting passion that turned into a career pursuit. Kristian left home as a teenager to play junior hockey in North America. He later signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ affiliate, spending most of 2017-18 in the ECHL and also suiting up for two appearances with the AHL’S Marlies. His path was altered by a lengthy absence due to a torn ACL — if you know Martin’s injury history, you realize that resilience seems to run in this family — but he has since won a championship in Finland’s top league and was part of Slovakia’s historic run to a bronze medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics. That helps explain why Kristian had tears in his eyes when Martin notched that first NHL goal.