Oliver Bonk has had a pretty cool summer for an 18-year-old. The Philadelphia Flyers drafted Bonk in the first round. He spent most of the summer in Voorhees working out. He signed his first professional contract.
And, the mullet is gone.
“I was training in Philly and I got kinda bored of my hair,” Bonk said on Ottawa 1200 radio. “It was kinda getting in my face while I was training so I just decided to let one of the guys here buzz it off.”
Bonk was the 22nd overall pick in June’s draft. He is 6-foot-2, 180 pounds and a right-shot defenseman. The Flyers would welcome a talented, home-grown defenseman, traditionally an area of need.
He said he spent most of the summer in the area doing off-ice workouts. He went back home to Ottawa for a week or so and that’s where he signed his contract — in his home.
Hockey is in his blood.
“I think the biggest thing is just cause the dads that have played,” Bonk told the radio station about sons following their dad’s footsteps in hockey.
“Obviously you can be a great coach as a dad and not have played in the NHL. But the dads that do play — and especially my dad — they know what they’re talking about and they know what it takes, the amount of motivation you need to have and the amount of determination you need to have to achieve it.
“They know more than anyone else and I think that’s what helps them more than others.”
Bonk is part of general manager Daniel Briere’s first draft class, which includes Matvei Michkov. The Flyers’ drafted players ooze potential and could be a real accelerator to the team’s rebuild.
Bonk said he is close with his dad and hockey is that added ingredient in their relationship. His dad, Radek, played 969 NHL games for the Senators, Canadiens and Predators.
“It was great especially being with my dad the whole way,” said Bonk, an Ottawa native. “He got to coach me and obviously he knew what he talked about so he stuck around as a coach.
“So I think it’s something every kid wants to be able to go through with their dad, and I think I’m really gifted to have a dad that knows so much and can help me a lot in hockey.
“We talk a lot after the game. He’s not a coach anymore so he kinda leaves that part to my coaches. But we still talk about certain plays.
“We both like talking about hockey, but it’s mostly after games. He gives me a lot of pointers still.”
Bonk was a standout at Flyers Development Camp in July. His defensive skills were evident. His size helped him win most one-on-one encounters. Another Flyers defensive prospect, Emil Andrae, noticed.
“Good player. Pretty big guy,” Andrae said. “Good with the puck. Good hockey IQ. I think he has a great future in front of him.”
Bonk took away some fine memories from camp.
“You get treated like a king here,” Bonk said. “They give you everything they can to help you succeed, so it’s really nice to come in and kind of be treated like that, first time ever. It’s a really cool experience.”
“Even the younger guys are going hard,” Bonk said. “It’s a whole ‘nother step from the [Ontario Hockey League], so I think I’m just trying to bring that intensity back to the OHL.”
Roman Josi fan
Bonk, a Senators fan growing up, said Predators defenseman Roman Josi is his favorite player.
“I think he’s a really complete player,” Bonk said. “You see some defensemen that are really gifted offensively and kinda put aside their defensive game.
“But as a defenseman that needs to be still your main thing that you focus on. I think Josi does a really great job of creating offense but not giving up defense.
“I was a defenseman. You can’t be thinking about offense. It’s always defense first but it’s always good to contribute on offense, too.”
Bonk said he remember seeing his dad play and has a special memory that he shared with the radio station.
“I definitely remember him playing … when he played in the Czech league and he won the championship there,” Bonk said.
“I still remember going out on the ice to celebrate. That definitely was really special.
“It’s really fun to go back [on YouTube] and watch some of that stuff especially when he played with Vegas [1993-95, Las Vegas Thunder, of the IHL] and the big [celebrations]. It’s pretty funny to go back and watch that.”