Boston Bruins right winger David Pastrnak, 21, was born and raised in the Czech Republic. His father encouraged him to pursue hockey, and he was the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2014. On Nov. 24 of that year, he made his NHL debut and later that season became the franchise’s youngest player ever to score a game-winning goal in overtime of a regular-season game. Last season, he tallied the second most points on the team before signing a six-year, $40 million contract extension with the Bruins in September.
Jonathan Soroff: So Pasta’s your nickname. Is it your favorite food?
David Pastrnak: No. When my dad played hockey, they called him Pasta, and so I got it from him. But it’s funny: Pasta in Czech means toothpaste, so I’m spaghetti and toothpaste at the same time.
How old were you the first time you put on skates? Three. That was the first time I played hockey. They were ladies’ skates because they had no sizing for me back then.
You were the youngest Bruin when you joined, not even legal to drink a beer. Did your teammates treat you like a little kid? No. They treated me just like one of them. A lot of them were older than me, but they taught me and were really good to me.
Strangest thing you’ve ever used a hockey stick for? [Laughs]. Interesting. I used a hockey stick to hang my suits in my car. When I was moving, I put the stick in the back seat and I hung my clothes on it.
Biggest extravagance after you signed your latest contract? I bought a house and a car—a new [Porsche] Panamera, 2018.
Favorite thing to do off the ice? During the season, most of the time I just lie down on the couch and watch some TV shows. But I’m an active guy, so in the summer I do a lot of different sports. I don’t like doing nothing. But the hockey season is long, so I kinda like my privacy and my downtime.
Where do you spend the offseason? Back home in Prague.
Thing you miss the most about the Czech Republic? Family and friends, obviously, but also the beer. Czech beer is very good.
Thing you like the most about Boston? I like so much. The city’s fun. There’s a bunch of good restaurants. There are a lot of young people here, so it’s pretty rowdy, which I like. It’s also really clean. I was surprised by how clean it was when I first got here.
Any good places to get Czech food here? No. In New York, there’s a good one, and Edmonton has one, too. It’s actually good that there isn’t one here, so that I don’t go a lot. But every time we play in New York, I’m excited to go to the restaurant because it’s like being back home for a meal.
How’s your golf game? Not very good. I just started last year. But I’m getting
better. I’m more into tennis and soccer, but this is my second year playing golf.
I’m working on it.
Worst injury? Probably when I broke my foot. That was pretty painful. But that’s it. I’ve had pretty good luck, so hopefully that will keep going.
Do you have all your own teeth? I don’t. I have a lot of half-teeth. I didn’t lose a full tooth yet from hockey, but I’ve lost a lot of halves.
Even with a mouthguard? I don’t use one. I can’t wear that, although I should.
Is hockey more mental or physical for you? It’s both. I think it’s a little bit more mental, but it’s tight.
Greatest hockey player of all time? My favorite is Mario Lemieux, but the obvious choice is Wayne Gretzky.
If you weren’t a pro hockey player, what do you think you’d be doing? Hmm… that’s a good question. I don’t know. I’d probably play another sport. I’m pretty talented at sports, but I never liked school. So I wouldn’t be a doctor, for sure.
Ever tried figure skating? No.
Messiest player in the locker room? Probably Charlie McAvoy. He’s always leaving his stuff all over the locker room, everywhere.
Biggest joker on the team? Brad Marchand.
If you were going to play in the Olympics, would it be for the U.S. or the Czech Republic? Czech Republic, for sure. Never forget where you’re from.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions before games? I meditate for two minutes, and I jump in the full-body cold tub. Those are the two biggest.
Favorite city to play in? Probably Dallas—or anywhere else that’s warmer than here. It’s always nice to get warm in the winter.
Least favorite? Winnipeg. [Laughs]. It’s cold there, and there aren’t a lot of good restaurants, so it’s usually room service.
Most uncomfortable part of your uniform or gear? None of it. It’s really comfortable. I love wearing them. The jerseys and the socks are a pleasure to wear. The hardest equipment to wear is probably the pads. They’re heavy.
When you’re not in uniform, are you a clotheshorse? I have a huge amount of clothing. I buy a lot, usually online. I don’t really care about brands or labels. If I like the style and it fits me, I buy it. If it costs 20 bucks or 200 bucks, I don’t care.
Teammate you’re closest with? I’m really close with David Krejci. You know, we’re from the same country. Then Torey Krug and I are living close to each other, and we spend a lot of time together. Jake DeBrusk, a new guy, he’s great. I got a lot of guys.
Something that would surprise people to know about you? I’m pretty good at drawing. I love it and I do it in my free time, sometimes.
What happens if you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of a game? [Laughs.] You hold it and wait till the period is over. Sometimes in practice, you’ll be able to run away. It doesn’t happen a lot, but in practice maybe. In a game, I don’t think it would be a good idea.
What does life look like after hockey? I’m the kind of guy, I don’t really think too far in advance. Maybe in a couple of years I should, but I’m pretty young, and I’m just enjoying every moment. I like to take it day by day and not look too far down the road. You can’t plan anything, anyway, because so many things can change. ◆
Photo: John Huet; Location: Carrie Nation; Styling: Vincent Russo / Ennis Inc.; Grooming: Ana Zelich / Stilisti Salon; Wardrobe (top image): J.Crew Bow tie, Macy’s INC. Jacket, Calvin klein shirt from Macy’s; Wardrobe (black and white image): Macy’s INC jacket, Calvin Klein shirt, perry ellis pants, Michael Kors watch, all from Macy’s, and J.Crew Bow Tie