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Jakub Dobeš : Winning at all costs

By Justin Vézina

“When I’m involved, I play better. When the stakes are high, it’s a plus for me. I feel I’m becoming more competitive and even better.”

These are the words of goalietender Jakub Dobeš, whose brilliance over the past month has kept Laval’s playoff dream alive. Indeed, the team is now on the doorstep of a spot for the Calder Cup.

In stark contrast to his spectacular and dazzling playing style, the 6’5″ giant is a very relaxed person. It was with his usual charming candor that he sat down in the conference room to discuss his recent successes, wearing a smile that’s completely justified.

The Rocket has won eight of their last ten outings, a sequence during which the Czech shot stopper has stood out by winning six of his seven starts.

“I don’t care about the numbers and all that. All that matters is how I played and, above all, the wins. Ultimately, that’s what counts for everyone,” mentioned the player with a winning record of 9-6-3.

However, his own statistics should not be overlooked. In the last month, he has maintained an efficiency rate of .928 and has not allowed more than three goals in a single game. Those numbers are worth the mention.


This rise to prominence is no accident either. Both Dobeš and his head coach, Jean-François Houle, cited goalie coach Marco Marciano as one of the reasons for the 22-year-old’s strong performances.

“Marco Marciano has done a good job of guiding him and putting him on the right path,” explained Houle. “He’s playing good field hockey right now.”

“I think he’s projecting well. He keeps progressing. It wasn’t easy at first. But when it’s not easy, it shows you that you’ve got a long way to go. And I think he’s taken himself in hand.

An observation shared by Dobeš.

“I feel I’m a better overall goalie [than at the start of the season],” admitted the goaltender. I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress with Marco, just in terms of technique alone, and he’s given me a lot of advice. I’ve added several things to my game that I didn’t have in the first few games.”


One of the things he’s added to his arsenal is his ability to cope with the obstacles of professional hockey, in the words of his instructor.

“He’s probably never seen such adversity,” Houle said of the rookie. In university, it was always good for him. But when you’re a young player and you don’t know how to deal with adversity, it can be a little harder. However, it’s done now. He’s been there and he’ll know how to deal with adversity next time.”

The adversity Houle refers to was a more difficult sequence at the start of the campaign, when the team was finding its feet. In the end, this bad streak served as a real driving force for Dobeš going forward. 

“I have a feeling that we, as a group, are going to be really good,” declared Dobeš. […] There’s so much talent in this locker room and we can finally show it.”

So, take it from him. Dobeš and the Rocket are ready for the final sprint of the season.