In the first round of 2018 Import Draft on June 28 the T-Birds selected Slovakian forward Andrej Kukuca with the 29th overall pick. Last season Kukuca played for Trencin in the U20 Slovakian junior league where he scored 41 goals and had 26 assists in 42 games. Kukuca was ranked number 84 by NHL Central Scouting for International Skaters for the 2018 NHL Draft. Andrej took some time to sit down and answer a few questions for us.
Seattle Thunderbirds: Congratulations on being selected by the T-Birds. Where were you when you heard the news?
AK: I was at home and I was watching the draft
ST: How did you feel when you heard the T-Birds selected you in the first round of the draft?
AK: I was very happy when I was drafted by Seattle Thunderbirds
ST: What do you know about the T-Birds and the WHL?
AK: I know Mathew Barzal played for Seattle and I know this team won the WHL in 2017
ST: For T-Birds fans that have not seen you play, can you describe your style of play?
AK: Last season in Slovak junior league I played 61 games, scored 61 goals, and 37 assist for Dukla Trencin. We won first place against Nitra in 7 games. I think I have good hands. I like to score goals. I have good vision on ice and I like to play for my team.
ST: I’ve been told you can play both center and wing. Do you prefer one over the other? Do you think your style of play makes you more valuable at one or the other?
AK: Last two seasons I play as a right wing and I like it more when I am wing.
ST: What are you doing to prepare for next season?
AK: I am improving my strength and conditioning every day.
ST: Last season you played for several Slovakian teams. Can you tell us a bit about each team you played with? What the level of play was like with each team and what this movement among teams means?
AK: The most of the season I played for Dukla Trencin Juniors and played five games for Dukla Trencin A-team which is Slovak top league.
ST: The ice surfaces in North America and Europe are different sizes. How do you think playing on a smaller ice surface in North America will affect your game?
AK: I’ve never played in North America but I think I will have a lot of puck.
ST: What kind of expectations do you have for yourself and the team this season?
AK: I want to help my team to be successful. Step by step.
ST: Did you play any other sports besides hockey growing up?
AK: I played soccer.
ST: Have you ever visited the United States before? If so, where and what did you think?
AK: When I was 11 I played tournament in Niagara Falls
ST: Thanks for joining us Andrej. We look forwards to seeing you at Training Camp.
AK: Thank you for interview and I am looking forward to visit my new team.
Seattle Thunderbirds Public & Media Relations Intern Alex Dupille conducted the Q&A with Andrej Kukuca. The team will be posting Q&A’s during the off-season with T-Birds players.