Interview 24.08.2017

Mario Puskarich: "I want to understand every language in our locker room"

Mario Puskarich left North America because of hockey first time in his career to join Medvescak and discover the land of his ancestors.

In joining Medvescak, Mario Puskarich got the chance to visit the homeland of his ancestors for the first time. His father's family is mainly from Zagreb, but because of his obligations in the preseason, Mario discovered Croatia capital mostly from David Brine' car.

This is your first time in Croatia. How do you feel in your ancestors homeland?
"I feel very good in Croatia. In my first week here I had trouble sleeping because of the jet lag. I didn't believe it, but after the first week I got time to sleep. I learned that my father's family was from Zagreb and I'm trying to learn as much as I can in this first few weeks."

Have you learned Croatian in USA or you started to learn hear in Zagreb?
"For now I have learned words like thank you, your welcome, hello. It is a tough language to learn and I'll need a lot of time to learn it."

Do you have time to discover Zagreb when you're not in the practice?
"Most of the time here I spent on the ice. And if I have some free time, I try to spend it with my teammates so we can get to know each other before the season starts. After the preseason, I hope that I will get some time to discover Zagreb and the rest of Croatia."

Your roommate here is Alexx Privitera. How do you get along with him?
"If we didn't have a good relationship, it would be bad for us because we are roommates. I came here first and then he got an offer, accepted it and we were very excited that we are gonna play together again. Every time you know someone in the team, the transition period is shorter. Especially when we go shopping."

What is the atmosphere in the locker room after three weeks of preseason?
"It is a lot of fun in the locker room. We try to learn different languages and get to know each other. I want to know where my teammates come from and learn about their culture. I love the diversity in the locker room because we are all equal on the ice and that's our strength."

Have you adjust your playing style to European hockey?
"I'm still going through transition period, but in college we played on the ice which was in Olympic dimension and it was helpful for me. I try to improve myself every day, but I just have to take it step by step."

You spent four years on the University of Vermont. What is it like to be a part of American University?
"Those were four great years. It was a little bit different than in the movies, but a lot of fun. it is a privilege to be a hockey player and a student. Individual awards that I won weren't important for me, I played with a lot of great players and improved as a player. That's in the past now, Medvescak is my future."

You also have a great relationship with Boivin. Do older guys help you a lot with advice?
"He was one of the first guys that I talked to. He helped me a lot like some other players. Brine was here before, he knows the city and he drove us before we got familiar with Zagreb."

What can we expect from the Bears this season?
"I believe that we can be great this season. Other teams probably don't look at us that way, but we are gonna surprise them. We are all excited and we can't wait for season to start. We are gonna play tough and dynamic hockey."

Photo source: Twitter