Vo­racek get­ting the old hero’s wel­come home

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Wayne Fish

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.”

EMILY PAINE/MORN­ING CALL FILE PHOTO

Jake 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.

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