Paving the Way

Know Your Bobcat – Will Pavek

Throughout the months of August and September, BismarckBobcats.com will be taking a one-by-one look at the players on the Bobcats’ Training Camp Roster. Today’s installment features Bobcat rookie forward Will Pavek.

Name: Will Pavek

Position: Forward

Hometown: Green Bay, WI

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 192 lbs.

2012-13 Team: Notre Dame Academy

2012-13 Stats: 23 GP, 15 G, 9 A, 24 PTS, +24, 36 PIM, 6 PPG, 1 SHG, 4 GWG

Favorite TV Shows: The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones

Favorite Words of Wisdom: “Block a shot, get a slushie!”

Highlight of 2012-13: “I would have to say going to Duluth and winning the Marshall Hilltopper Holiday Tournament. It was our team’s second year going to Marshall’s holiday tournament and it was great to go in and win it against such tough competition.”

Seizing Power

When it comes to Bismarck Bobcat rookie frontliners, the overwhelming descriptive phrase that gets tossed around is “power forward.” At 6’0”, 192 points, Will Pavek is one such player who sees himself in that power forward role.

“I like to play hard in the corners and along the wall and then get out into the slot and finish in front of the net,” offered Pavek, who averaged better than a point per game for Notre Dame Academy in 2012-13.

Even his concept of the perfect play screams “power forward.”

“For me you couldn’t draw it up any better than leveling somebody in open ice, and taking the puck back up the ice and burying one,” Pavek revealed. “It’s pretty much the best of both worlds.”

On a team where the average height in 2012-13 was 5’11”, you might think that with all the incoming rookie power forwards, the Bobcat coaches and scouts were looking for guys with size. According to the man who scouted Pavek, however, it’s actually a much higher concept that applies.

“These guys who call themselves ‘power forwards’ are really players with skill that also realize that playing for the Bobcats means you will also have to focus on playing different roles to be successful,” advised Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth, who first saw Pavek playing for the Tritons in the Wisconsin State Tournament. “This season we were lucky enough to be able to find guys up front that had the combination of size and skill that were doing the little things and pay the price to score.”

One part of the role that often gets overlooked for the traditional power forward is the defensive end.

Coming to a team that is perennially in the top 10 of the NAHL in goals against, however, Pavek is ready to do his part in his own zone, too.

“Playing center, I really enjoy getting into the corners behind our net and supporting our defense,” reminded Pavek, who managed a robust +24 in 2012-13. “Both ends of the ice are really important, especially once you get to the junior level.”

League Legacy

Though Will Pavek is coming into his rookie season in the North American Hockey League, his family name should ring familiar to any fan of the league: his older brother, Ross, played three seasons split between Janesville, Alaska, Aberdeen and Jamestown.

Having an older brother blaze the trail through junior hockey has been a considerable asset for the younger Pavek as he prepares to jump into his first year in the NAHL.

“Ross has been a great resource for me this summer,” agreed Will. “I’ve been able to pick his brain on what team to try out for, how to train in the offseason and how to mentally prepare to be a rookie in this league. His advice has been really important.”

In fact, Will’s first junior exposure resulted from a connection with Ross, who was coached in Aberdeen during the 2011-12 season by current Bobcats assistant Roth. During that season, the then-Wings assistant traveled to Madison to scout the Wisconsin State Tournament, which Will and the Tritons won with a double overtime title game victory over Wausau West.

During Ross’ time with the Jamestown Ironmen, he played alongside Will’s current Bobcat teammates Tyler Dunagan, Kenny Curtis and Huba Sekesi.

“In Jamestown, Ross was the older vet and leader to guys like Tyler, Kenny and Huba,” noted Will, “and already they’re starting to take me under their wings and show me the way. They’re paying it forward to me.”

Now, Will’s poised to make his own name in the league.

“I’m excited to get started and get onto the ice this week and show what I can do out there for the Bobcats.”

Perseverance

Like all other Bobcat rookies, Will Pavek’s first taste of Bismarck/Mandan was the team’s grueling Hell Week dryland regimen. The first day of Hell Week was rough on Pavek, who struggled through the two-mile run, conducted at Wachter Middle School.

“Distance running definitely isn’t my thing,” confessed Pavek, “but I didn’t let that get me down. I just told myself that I’d do better on Tuesday and show everyone that one bad day isn’t going to stop me.”

The first-year forward bounced back in a big way the next three days, scoring high in the final eight events to finish in the 60th percentile of the team despite the fact that points from the two-mile counted for double.

“Will did a great job, working really hard to show us that he could compete in Hell Week,” praised Bobcats head coach and general manager Layne Sedevie. “He showed a good attitude and work ethic to improve every day.”

Pavek credited the support of his teammates during the grueling start to training camp.

“The guys were all unreal all week. We’re competing against each other to win the championship but at the same time it brings us closer as a team,” assessed Pavek. “Everybody was there cheering the guy next to them on, picking guys up when they were struggling. When I had a tough time in the two-mile, Aaron Nelson—who had just finished his own run—came out and ran alongside me all the way to the finish line.

“Knowing that I have guys like that behind me already and having my back is a huge confidence boost. Team chemistry is such an important thing and it seems like everyone is already coming together as a family, working together toward our goal of winning a Robertson Cup.”

Stay tuned to BismarckBobcats.com over the next month-plus as we take you in-depth with every player on the Training Camp Roster in preparation for the 2013-14 season. Next week we’ll sit down with Huba Sekesi, Jared Dedenbach, Tucker Windels, Matt Perry, Dylan Parker, Nick Wallace and Cullen Willox.