Washington Capitals’ defenseman Martin Fehervary sat for an interview with Bratislava media outlet SME during the 2018 World Championship in Copenhagen. In the interview Fehervary discussed his upbringing in Bratislava, the loss of his mother, Gabike, the importance of family and his passion for the game of hockey. The following is a translation of portions of the interview.
As a child, you had the nickname “little Feha”. However, you currently measure 186 centimeters (6’-2”). When did you grow up so fast?
“From an early age, I was the smallest on every team. I played with boys who were two or three years older. Adam Ružička and Filip Krivošík were always huge, so they nicknamed me that. Gradually I started to grow and I’m still growing. The biggest spurt was at about age fourteen. My brother measures 197 centimeters (6’-4”) and my father 192 centimeters (6’-3”). I will gradually catch up with them. ”
As a child, you left Slovan Bratislava and, together with other boys, headed to the Svišť Hockey School, which was founded by your parents. What was it like growing up outside the system?
“It was one of the best years of my hockey career. Other guys who are now on the junior national team will probably agree. We had our own system, which was great. We were taken care of by Adriana Hosťovecká, a great professional who was responsible and strict. She didn’t give us anything for free.”
“After some of the games, when we played badly, she came into the cabin and announced – boys, you’re going home on foot. She taught us a lot, we traveled to a lot of tournaments, which helped us in hockey and personal life. We also had great coaches like Michal Dostál and Roman Meg. I like to remember those years. ”
However, you also experienced hard times. You weren’t even ten years old when your mother died. Was hockey the one that helped you the most?
“Exactly. It happened over the summer when we didn’t train, but hockey was something I didn’t think about. Many people helped us at that time. We went on weekends together, on holidays , which benefited me. ” (Gabike Fehervary was diagnosed with lung cancer two years before her passing in 2009).
Can we continue on this topic?
In a recent interview, you said that you are most worried about your family so that nothing happens to anyone close to you. What was it like to lose your mom at such a young age?
“It was difficult for every member of the family. I had a beautiful relationship with my mother. It was not easy to go through that period, especially for my father. We were on our own. Father and three children. My brother was fifteen, I was nine, and my sister, I guess, was six. He did great. He raised three great children and took great care of us. We have come to terms with it, it’s over, but we can still feel it.”
What does family mean to you?
“Family is most important to me. We have an excellent relationship with each other. I’m happy when we all meet. When I’m in Slovakia, I try to spend as much free time as possible with them. I really like going to my grandmothers. ”
Why did you and your father decide to go abroad at the age of fifteen?
“It was not my decision. I got an offer from Sweden, so I had no reason to question it. It was a step forward and I didn’t hesitate at all. In addition, nothing kept me at home after my mother passed. ”
Some fathers want the power of their children to grow into sports stars. How was it in your case?
“My father has invested a lot of money and time in my career. I am very happy for that, I have already thanked him many times. I appreciate it. I try to reward him for it and repay him with the best possible performances. He didn’t spend that much time with my brother and sister, because he was with me many times at camps and tournaments. He is making it up to them now. ”
How do you enjoy your first senior world championships?
“It’s completely different from junior championships. The approach of the players and the team is different. I’m glad I can be here. It’s great and I really enjoy it. ”
Is there something that absolutely surprised you at the championship that you didn’t expect at all?
“Probably the atmosphere. Junior tournaments were not so watched. I was attracted to the fans in Copenhagen. They were great during all the matches, especially in the first match against the Czech Republic, it was fantastic. ”
After Jiří Bicek, Marián Hoss and Marián Gáborík, you are the fourth Slovak 18-year-old hockey player to start at the World Championships. What does this mean for you?
“It is an honor to join such players. First and foremost, however, I want to perform as well as possible to earn my place and convince the coach that he made the right decision when he took me to the tournament. ”
In the last three seasons, you are at the fifth top event. How do you deal with that?
“I do not care. I try to be the best I can. I want to be the best in Slovakia, but also in the world, so I’m set. I try to work every day as hard as possible. ”
You scored at each of these championships. Last time you shined against Austria with two assists. How do you feel about it?
“It’s fine. I am glad that I am doing well in the national team in this regard. It also pleased me against the Austrians. The important thing is that the game and the points are just an extra candy. ”
You act confidently on the ice, outside you show considerable humility. Do you realize that?
“It simply came to my notice just now. I try to be humble and modest and not play with anything. It’s a picture of how my parents raised me. ”
You can access the interview in its entirety here.
By Jon Sorensen