PRAGUE, Czech Republic – Some of the Flyers are calling him the “king’’ and others the “pope’’ in reference to Jake Voracek and his return to his home country.
But whatever title you attach to it, it’s clear the Flyers’ talented forward ranks high in popularity here, not only in sports but just about any form of entertainment.
In a way, it’s a dream come true.
For instance, his grandmother has never seen him play a professional game. She will on Friday night when the Flyers take on the Chicago Blackhawks in the season opener at O2 Arena.
“I’m excited so much because, you know, when you went out to play hockey one day, maybe make some money out of it and you make it to the NHL,’’ he said.
“You know, I’m pretty pumped up because it’s going to be a once in a lifetime experience. And I’m excited that I get to go back and see everybody including my parents.’’
Voracek is making his way up the ladder in many career offensive stats with the Flyers. He’s still got four years left on his contract. If he finishes it here, he might be mentioned in the same breath with the Clarkes, Barbers and Lindroses.
Back here, though, he’s known as a star for his country. His parents get a lot of the credit for that.
“It’s about the cheers I’m going to get from two people,’’ he said. “And, you know, I can make them proud. You know, like, when I played a world championship last year in Bratislava, I had a lot of responsibilities and I think I handled it pretty well.
“And I think they were proud of me as well. I was a captain in 2015 when we play in Prague as well, so it’s always for them, you know, to see me play at home and what the people saying about me in a stands I think it’s kind of give them a good feeling about that they raised me well and they did something right.’’
He might not be famous as Jaromir Jagr in these parts but he’s working his way up there.
In fact, he had to leave over 70 tickets for this game.
As for giving his teammates a tour of Prague, Voracek shook his head.
“To be honest, I don’t mingle much with teammates,’’ he said. “You know when I have my off time with the family and everything so I try to see them first. And I’m sure I’ll get to hang out with them at night.’’