Plzen, Czech Republic |
According to Milan, his parents gave up their Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic] home, and left family and friends so that he could grow up outside of “the Soviet Communist Regime”. Milan’s parents believed Canadians to be warm, polite, honest and hardworking, all qualities that they wanted their son to develop. His family’s journey to Canada began by escaping Czechoslovakia on foot, making it initially to Austria where they spent some time before finally migrating here. Milan speaks highly of Toronto, referring to it as “one of the most multicultural places on the planet”. Currently he is teaching Adult English as a Second Language (ESL) at the City Adult Learning Centre.
Toronto as Home
Milan is standing inside his classroom where he spends a lot of time doing what he loves. Because he is teaching Adult ESL, his students are immigrants – a group of people Milan can easily connect with and he enjoys helping them adapt to their new home. His parents went through this same adjustment to a new country, and Milan never forgets that.
Connection with the Past
Hockey and soccer are incredibly popular sports in the Czech Republic, so playing them reminds Milan of his background. His fondest memories of hockey revolve around the 5 AM practices as a child, when he would spend valuable time with his parents and grandparents driving there in the car. Being drafted to the Ontario Hockey League and receiving a scholarship to Middlebury College (Vermont) were highlights that followed, and at 18 he won the Canadian National Championship playing soccer with the Oakville Blue Devils. Although Milan’s immediate family has no particular connection to hockey, they loved sports – his father was an enthusiastic volleyball player and his mother was a competitive gymnast in Czechoslovakia. Due to the numerous injuries that he has sustained, Milan now only plays recreational hockey. He looks forward to eventually using these experiences in coaching.