With excellent performance during last season and taking on the leading roles in Medvescak U20 team that achieved an unprecedented result - the very final game of EBYSL Final, young Bears Ivan Jankovic and Matija Milicic have again received an invitation for the KHL team, while Jan Smolec, due to great plays, first earned an invitation to the senior national team of Croatia, and now to join Medvescak's KHL team training camp.
“An excellent, but a very long season is behind us. Impressions have settled and we all know how big the success we achieved is. But I have to admit, at the end, I could hardly wait for a bit of a break,” said Milicic while looking back on the season, and the other two agreed with him.
But the time for rest and vacation was almost non-existent this year, because trainings for the new season have long ago been in full swing. “We're right on track, we train every day. Of course, the lack of ice in Zagreb during summer was a big problem, but we do what we can, we have to. Being on the seaside is not a bad option to have good, quality trainings”, Jankovic said.
“I'm in full training, did my best without being on ice. I couldn’t wait for it to start!” said Smolec who couldn't hide his happiness:”I'm thrilled to be invited to the KHL team, it's still unreal. Now I'll have to play even better and justify the invitation and hopefully, make the team.”
“The young Croatians will have an opportunity to start camp with the KHL club and we will see how they are developing. It will be good to have all three of them there and see how they handle the demands. We added Jan to the group, with Ivan and Matija, and will be good a good experience and opportunity for them and for us to see them competing to start the camp,” Aaron Fox, Medvescak's Sports Director said on the young trio.
And while this will be a first training camp for Smolec, Milicic and Jankovic made their KHL debuts last season. “We played in our first game and everyone saw we can do it. I'm hoping for a few more games this season”, Jankovic said and Milicic added: “We're glad a lot of the guys are coming back to the team because we made friends last year and in that way, it will be easier this year. We know how trainings go, what the coach wants of us, what's important for him. All we have to do now is give it our best and, of course, hope for more minutes on the ice.”
This trio has spent almost the entire year together in the U20 team, so the 19-year-old Smolec had time to gather all the advice and tips he can from his 'older' teammates Milicic and Jankovic. “We spent almost every day together, so he knows how things work. The most important thing for him is to put in all the effort he can and go hard from the get go because it won't get any easier.”