The young Chamoniard, Gabin Ville, has just joined the České Budějovice team in the Czech Republic. Having left quite young in Finland, he was able to achieve his minor hockey through Espoo and IFK Helsinki.
His professional debut took place on the French ice creams of Chamonix and Grenoble, accumulating 10 and 20 points respectively in two seasons. The opportunity presented itself to return to Finland, he played more than 100 games in Mestis (2nd Finnish level), where he was able to place 80 points.
A new adventure presents itself with an offer made to him to play at HC Motor České Budějovice in the Czech Republic. This club, founded in 1928, was one of the founding clubs of the first real national championship in 1937. Only one elite championship title was won, in 1951, but the club has seen many legendary international players wearing his jersey like Miroslav Dvořák, Jaroslav Pouzar, Jiří Lála, Radek Bělohlav, Radek Dvořák or even Roman Turek who is now president of the club. It is Václav Prospal, the pure product of the club, who leads the group today.
It’s time to find out how Gabin finds himself in his new environment.
(Hockey Archives) Good evening, first of all, how is your health?
(Gabin City) My health is pretty good, I feel good physically and so far I have been rather lucky as I have not been affected by COVID.
After three seasons spent in Finnish Mestis, you arrive in the České Budějovice club. How was this transfer carried out and what are the reasons for this choice?
I had a good start to the season in Mestis and in December I started to get interest from some clubs above Mestis. Coach Vinny Prospal knew me from this summer when I was at Motor’s training camp and when the timing was right around Christmas, joining Budějovice came naturally for me.
The Czech Extraliga is your new playing field, how do you feel in the game and what are the objectives and responsibilities requested by the staff?
It’s a different style from Finland. I have a lot to learn from this league and this level but I’m playing well and I think I can do better with time. My goals are to become better and to bring my best to the team to perform. As for my responsibilities, it is to be a player who can be counted on at all levels of the ice as well as on the shorthand.
What are the living and logistical conditions in the club? Do you have time to go out and discover or are you kept in a bubble?
We are not in a bubble but we take the maximum precautions by wearing masks, washing our hands and then we are tested every 72 hours.
The workforce is overwhelmingly Czech, how are your relations with your teammates?
Relations are very good and the Czechs are very welcoming, so it is really a pleasure to be there.
In this uncertainty of the moment with this health crisis, how is the organization of the competition presented?
We are playing without an audience but it looks like we can finish the season anyway.
Coach Václav Prospal brings a wealth of playing experience with over a thousand NHL games and two World Championship gold medals. What are the orientations and contribution of this young head coach in the direction of the group?
Vinny Prospal teaches me a lot about how to be « Accountable » in English that is to say a player who can be counted on and then on how to be professional every day on and off the ice. And indeed, when we have more than 1000 NHL games, it is because we are « Accountable » and pro.
To come back to your evolution, you integrated Finnish minor hockey quite quickly. What is your view on this training school?
Looking back now, the Finnish team is for me one of the best there is. They teach us the values of work and the spirit of competition very early on, and that is an advantage later on.
The France team will not play in the World Cup this year, but you have already made some regroupings with the blues. The space to make a place for it is becoming more and more competitive, how do you see things for yourself?
The future will tell us more, I have no predictions.
Have you learned a few words in Czech, just to discover this particular language?
Very little for the moment it is still a brand new language but at least that… Děkuji (thank you).
The Hockey Archives team wishes you a good season and a good dose of fun playing on Czech ice as well as in this charming town in Bohemia.