Vitek Vanecek has officially made the Capitals and 2020-21 will be his rookie season in the NHL.
Two of Vaneck’s close friends in the organization, Jakub Vrana and Ilya Samsonov, congratulated their fellow Hershey Bears alum on Instagram Monday night with two huggy photos.
Samsonov even called Vanecek “Boss” in Russian, the pet name they gave each other during their time together with the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.
Vanecek will likely make his NHL debut this month after spending five seasons with the Hershey Bears. Head Coach Peter Laviolette announced the decision on Monday during practice to enter the season with the two prospects as the No.1 and 2 goaltenders.
Vanecek was told by Laviolette that he would be on the NHL roster yesterday on the ice.
— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) January 12, 2021
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) January 11, 2021
“The dream is coming closer and closer,” said Vanecek after he found out he would be on the roster. “I was so happy. Now I have to show I can play NHL.”
“He’s been a top goaltender in the American Hockey League,” said Laviolette in a post-practice interview. “Like all young players eventually they need an opportunity to show what they can do… when you finally do make it to a level that you’ve been trying to achieve for a long time there’s a bit of excitement that goes with that.”
Vanecek and Samsonov first played together in Hershey during the 2018-19 season. Even though they were rivals fighting for a spot in the big leagues, they created a strong friendship.
Caps goalie prospects are getting along 😄
Ilya Samsonov: Boss
Vitek Vanecek: Yes, Big Boss pic.twitter.com/rUi2Rm4cfZ
— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) February 11, 2019
In an interview with isport.cz in 2019, Vanecek talked about how they help each other in the net as well as learning how to speak English.
Vrana was the first to lend a helping hand to his fellow Czech back in 2014 during a Development camp press conference when Vanecek spoke almost no English
The two are close friends and train together every summer back home in the Czech Republic. They even flew back with each other to the United States in December.
Vrana, Samsonov, and Vanecek created a bond during their time in Hershey with the same goal in mind, play in the NHL.
Now, this season, Vanecek will have his dream come true. Vanecek could even start Friday and make his NHL debut in the second game of the Capitals’ back-to-back against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.
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