At a towering 6’8” off the ice, Czech Republic native Andrej Sustr brings a formidable presence to Tampa Bay’s defensive line. Sustr joined the Lightning organization late last year, following the completion of his junior season playing at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. While he spent the majority of the 2012-2013 holding down a spot on the defensive line for the Lightning’s AHL affiliate team, Sustr as spent the entirety of this season on the Lightning’s roster, logging 7 assists so far. With his calm confidence and maturity on the ice, Sustr will definitely be a player to watch for years to come.
20 Questions with Andrej Sustr…
1.At what age did you start playing hockey? When did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?
I started at the age of 8. Kinda late, compared to the typical start of other kids. It was after the Czech national team won the olympics in Nagano ‘98. That really got me fired up, and the next week after that I was skating. (Well, I wouldn’t call it skating at that time…haha)
2. At what age did you start playing in North America? What was the hardest part about coming over here to play?
The hardest part was to leave my homeland. I was 17 years old and I was going to Alaska, not knowing English too well. Alaska was not the most attractive place for a European city boy. My dark expectations were to see just a lot of snow, igloos, and eskimos. My imaginations were kind of close-minded and stupid as I found out, because Alaska is a beautiful place…cold, but beautiful. Looking back at it I am really happy that I started there!
3. At this point, what is your proudest achievement in both your career and your life?
Obviously making it to the NHL is definitely something that I am really proud of. And just the feeling that you know your family is proud of you, what you have achieved and what you have going on is something to be proud of in your life.
4.What has been the biggest difference between playing at the college level, and playing in the NHL?
The biggest difference is that you don’t have to go to class anymore. But seriously, it is a very controlled, systematic game in the NHL, compared to college where its more of a running gun kind of hockey. Also, the players’ skill level is on another level.
5. A lot of guys have a specific routine they follow on game day? Do you have a routine? Or any “superstitions”?
Yea there is a routine for me in the way that I warm up and how I get dressed before the game.
But I wouldn’t say I am too crazy about it. Unlike some other guys that I wont name…
6. What’s your go-to pregame meal?
Steak, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans. And, I can’t forget about vanilla ice cream with some strawberries and chocolate on top of it as a small tasty treat.
7. What (if any) obstacles have you overcome during your career?
I would say just to get through the first few months in the US without knowing the language too well. After that I can’t think about anything extraordinary.
8. Who was your role model growing up?
My Dad. He is the MAN!
9. So far, what’s been your favorite place to play on the road?
Chicago…so far. Playing in the United Center was a great experience. Also, I had a chance to experience the city with the boys, that was fun!
10. Where is your favorite place to go out to eat in Tampa Bay?
I have two go-to places. Boca, which is a trendy fresh market restaurant, and Timpano, where they have some great seafood, like oysters, mussels, shrimp.
12. Outside of hockey, what else do you like to do with your time?
I like concerts. This summer I went to Osheaga in Montreal, and lately I went to Drake, Kanye West concerts. Other than that just hanging out, and I have been trying to learn how to play my electric guitar, but it has been a tough go…haha. I’m not a big video game player.
13. What are 5 things you can’t live without?
Family, Hockey, iPhone, internet, car.
14. If you weren’t a hockey player, what would you be doing?
Probably work at our family business back home in Czech Republic.
16. Any guilty pleasures?
I would rather not talk about it..haha!
17. Moving on! Ok we have to ask…single, taken, or locked down? And, what is the first thing you notice in the opposite sex?
Currently taken, got together with this lovely girl from Czech Republic this summer. The height would be the first thing – love when girls boost their height with some high heels.
18. Do you have a favorite quote/motto that you live by?
I can’t say that I have one.
19. What do you want to be remembered for?
A guy that did it right!
20. Who would you feature as our next SBOTD?
Alex Killorn. TBL forward, Harvard graduate. Single. Boom!
Thanks for your time Sustr!