It’s been a whirlwind year for Capitals’ prospect Aliaksei Protas. After being drafted by the Capitals last June, Protas participated in his first Capitals development camp the following week, played in the Capitals prospect tournament in Nashville in early September and participated in the Capitals training camp the following week, all before starting his second season with the Prince Albert Raiders. After getting off to a hot start in the WHL, Protas then returned home to play for the Belarus National Junior team in the World Junior Championships – Division 1A tournament, back in December.
Protas recently sat down with Apollo Multimedia for an extended interview, and discussed his draft day experience, how he got the nickname “The Viper”, playing with NHL players and his first NHL exhibition game.
Protas was first asked about what it was like being drafted by the Capitals:
“I think the NHL draft is something I will never forget, for sure. When you hear your name and you realize you have been drafted by the Capitals…actually it’s unreal. In this moment you actually realize why you play hockey, and you realize you have to work hard, like 100 times more to reach your dream and play for the Capitals.
Protas was asked how he got the nickname “The Viper”:
“I think my nickname name came from my billet dad. Since I was 10 years old. I can make quick moves, so that’s why he gave it to me.”
Protas was then asked how he got into the game of hockey:
“I got into hockey when I was seven years old. I think, to be honest it wasn’t my idea, my dad bought me skates before I was born, so I started to play the sport and I really liked it.”
Protas was asked what part of his game he felt he needed to work on:
“I think I should work on every part of my game, but for the most part, I need to work on my lower body, skate and speed, because if you want to be an NHL player, you cant be just a skilled guy, you have to be a really good skater.”
Protas was asked about his experience in Washington last fall:
“It was amazing, like for the young guys to meet an NHL player, to have a chance to talk and work with them, when you actually realize what you have to do to reach your dreams. For me every day in Washington was unforgettable, but i’ll probably say my first exhibition game in Capitals jersey was actually unreal.
You can view the entire interview here: