The barrage was arranged by a teacher in Zlín. My clock has to fall off, says the unexpected shooter Novotný

The barrage was arranged by a teacher in Zlín.  My clock has to fall off, says the unexpected shooter Novotný

On Monday evening, Martin Novotný became a Zlín hero. In the role of an unexpected scorer, he decided overtime against Vsetín and moved the Rams into the playoff for a return to the hockey extra league. A few hours later, the thirty-four-year-old defender was already teaching physical education at a school in Přerov. In the interview, he talks about the combination of a career with the work of a teacher and about the massive rise of Zlín in the current season.

“I have to look at the plans, we should probably do athletics. But it might still be cold outside, we’ll see,” Martin Novotný said on the phone on Tuesday after lunch.

At that moment, he had an evening in which, with only his second goal of the season, he awarded Zlín a 3:2 victory in extra time in the sixth final of the first league playoff against Vsetín. He has an hour of physical education ahead of him at ZŠ Želatovská in Přerov, where the owner of 137 extra-league starts has been helping with lessons for years.

How did you wake up after a successful sixth final and promotion?

It was a nice feeling that I don’t have to be in the cold again. I was able to sleep, we got the day off, it was such a relief. The last few weeks have been really challenging. We celebrated a bit with the boys, now we can at least take a breather before the shootout.

You immediately left for school. How many hours a week do you teach?

At the moment, I only have the smallest part-time job, I have physical education with seventh graders. It’s two hours a week. I have been teaching at the school in Přerov for seven or eight years, I used to have double the number of hours, but we agreed that this will be enough for me. I have it for practice, so that the transition after the hockey career will be easier for me.

Didn’t you teach other subjects?

I only have PE, I don’t interfere with my colleagues’ other subjects. (laughter)

Has the combination with matches and training sessions in the first league or extra league never caused you problems?

I’ve been combining it for a long time, the management of ZŠ Želatovská works great, we get along well with each other. I’m happy there. The first league is not guaranteed according to the salaries. It’s not like you’ve accumulated some wealth in fifteen years of gaming to live off of. That is why you are already looking for other alternatives to earn extra money and support yourself during your career.

Are you a strict teacher? Or rather friendly?

I’m pretty strict. Sometimes I blame myself that I shouldn’t have been so strict. But at the same time, I want the lesson to work, so that the children don’t jump over my head and get a good base of movement. I also care about such things that when one person speaks, the other cannot speak, and so on.

Do your students ask you career-related questions?

It’s a school where young Přerov hockey players go, so sometimes we exchange a few words about it. But it’s not for big debates, the class has to be finished.

At the Junior World Championships in Canada three months ago, three former classmates from your school helped the Czech Republic win its first medal in 18 years. Have Tomáš Suchánek, Stanislav Svozil and Martin Ryšavý passed through your hands?

Yes, it was just my first class when I started. I remember the boys very well, even then they were very clever and physically gifted. I wish them much success, but of course I take no credit for it. (smile)

Back to hockey. How did you enjoy the Wallachian derby series with Vsetín?

I tried not to get too much of a derby vibe to tell the truth. It was heated, but I rather kept my distance and focused on the game. However, I enjoyed the matches in front of full stands. Not long ago we played in empty stadiums, but this was a great experience and extreme. It really doesn’t happen often in the Premier League.

However, some of the fans’ expressions were over the top.

I did not expect that. It seems pointless to me, it’s still a sport and not about life. Threats and physical attacks are way over the line and nobody gains anything from it. It turned out that the last match was without Vsetín fans. As a player, I didn’t have enough information about it, but it’s definitely better to remove the threat than for someone to get hurt.

Zlín did not have a good season for a long time after the relegation, now you are in the playoffs. But how was you at the end of January?

At that time, we only looked below ourselves. We gradually discounted the targets. At first, we thought that we would make direct progress to the quarterfinals. Then “yeah, maybe we’ll get to the preliminary round”. Suddenly we were second to last and a few points from last. The thoughts were completely different. We went into the matches basically under more pressure than now in the final. We take it as the worst part of the season has already been experienced.

What was the turning point that you won 12 of the last 15 games of the regular season and then went through the playoffs relatively smoothly?

It’s hard to say, I think we had good training from the summer, but we couldn’t sell it on the ice. New coaches Miloš Říha and Oldřich Horák lifted us up, we began to trust them, we took their system and game as our own. Then we also managed to win matches in which we played poorly. That pushed us even further.

You have played 16 playoff games, while Kladno, who you will meet in the playoff from Sunday, “rested” for six weeks. How much strength do you have left?

It will become clear in the play-off how we really are. Every season, it is decided whether it is better to go there rested, but without matches, or after the play-offs in the first league. The truth will lie on ice.


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