Talented young hockey players mostly come from countries where ice-hockey is widespread, but Ádám Vay might become the first Hungarian in NHL.
Vay Ádám’s story is more like a Hollywood cliché than a real life event, but it is actually happening to him right now. He is coming from a tiny country from Eastern Europe, where ice-hockey is not such a popular sport as football or handball, for example, but even water polo is more popular than ice hockey…
It’s not easy to become professional in this sport coming from such a country. Online sportsbooks in Hungary would pay a lot of money if someone could predict who will become the first Hungarian in NHL history. Ádám Vay is really close to breaking that record and writing history within his nation. But how did it all start?
Showing goalie skills in the early years as well
Vay was born and raised in the capital of Hungary, Budapest. The talented young hockey player showed his terrific skills at a very young age: at only 10 years of age, he was already playing among 13-14 years. 3-4 years older children, at this age, that’s a lot of time, yet Vay proved himself to be good enough to be there even though the fact that he didn’t seem to have a chance to be the first Hungarian in NHL yet – but let’s not get that far.
The future NHL goaltender joined the youth league in Slovakia where he spent a little time before coming back to play for Hungarian teams. The young NHL elite prospect was member of all sorts of youth national teams, but he was still far away from becoming the first Hungarian in NHL. Maybe he still is, but he’s definitely one big step closer to his goal.
Minnesota is not Vay’s first trip to North America
He decided to leave Budapest Patriots in 2013 in hopes of becoming one of the future NHL stars in North America. That’s why he decided to join the team called El Paso Rhinos, which was a member of the Western States Hockey League at the time. He impressed there. Won the championship and had amazing effectiveness in saving.
His percentage of saving was above 90% which is totally amazing according to all online gambling sites in Hungary and all over the world. However, he did not make an impact on any NHL scouts, so Vay had only one choice after the 2-year-long American trip: he decided to
come back to his home country, Hungary.
The dreams of becoming the first Hungarian in NHL are getting further away…
When asked about the reason why he came back to Hungary after finding a club in the USA, Vay Ádám simply said:
“I was playing in the junior league. I didn’t manage to stay in the USA because the scouts are mainly interested in seeking talents from adult leagues. Juniors are more likely to be recruited from universities and colleges. That’s why I decided to come home and sign for Debrecen.”
So after leaving El Paso Rhinos, Vay joined Debreceni HK in Hungary, MOL Liga. Vay’s performance at Debrecen earned him a place in the national team which participated in the IIHF World Championship’s elite league.
Obviously, Hungary is not among the biggest ice hockey nations. Even making it to the elite league was a terrific success for the tiny country, and that’s the spirit which led the supporters as well: every single game was a gift for them. A gift which they enjoyed very much, making them one of the most likeable and engaging teams in the tournament.
He wasn’t even regarded as the best Hungarian goalie…
That’s true. He was not going to be number one goalie for the Hungarian national team, in fact he was only the third option behind Miklós Rajna and Zoltán Hetényi. That’s when his already incredible story is about to turn into a real-life fairy tale. Hungary was playing against Canada. The underdogs were losing 6-1, when in the 33rd minute, the coach decided to give a few minutes to Vay.
The young goalie talent’s performance against Canada was okay. So “okay” that it gave him the opportunity to show his skills against Finland in the starting line-up. Finland against Hungary in an ice-hockey game in the elite league. We all know where that’s going to, don’t we? Finland were clear favourites as they are full of world class players in the NHL, while the first Hungarian in NHL is still to be presented.
Not such a great surprise that Finland won easily by 3-0. However, it was only Vay who kept the score so low: Finland had a total of 51 shots on goal. The future NHL goaltender saved 48 of them. That’s a truly impressive 94% rate. Three of his saves were chosen in the top 5 saves of the day.
After the game, all his teammates and all his opponents couldn’t stop singing songs to his miraculous performance. Patrik Laine, Finland’s left winger highlighted how greatly Vay played, but Jussi Jokinen, the Finnish striker also commented that Vay’s performance was completely outstanding.
Vay could become the only Hungarian to play an NHL game ever
The terrific performances showed by the future NHL prospect during the IIHF World Championship has earned Vay a contract to an NHL club: after his incredible saves against Finland, US scouts laid their eyes on him. He was offered a contract by different clubs – Chicago, Edmonton, Calgary all wanted to capture him, but he waited as his teammate and friend Banham Franksuggested.
And how much Vay profited for listening to his advice! He was offered another contract by Minnesota Wild. Vay signed for them on a free contract and will belong to them for the next 2 years. He will join the rookie camp in July where he gets familiar with the club. Then the actual camp will take place where he will have to impress those in charge in order to become the very first Hungarian in NHL.
According to ice hockey talent scouts, he has pretty good chances to do so as he is one of the brightest of the most talented hockey prospects. Before him, Hungarian NHL hockey players did not exist: Another goalie, Levente Szuper, was closest to be the first Hungarian in NHL, but he was only a reserve player in his club in the NHL, never stepped on the ice though.
Ádám Vay is about to beat that record and be the first Hungarian in NHL. Online sportsbooks believe that he has good enough chances to reach that far as he is young, talented, ambitious and determined. When asked if he is satisfied about the opportunity to play for an NHL club, he only said:
“Now I need to work even harder. The real challenge is just about to begin.”
Wild also believe in Vay’s abilities
Brent Flahr, a scout at Minnesota Wild, has said about capturing the Hungarian goalie that his performances amazed them: he was tested at the top level against world class players such as the USA, Finland and Canada’s national ice-hockey teams. And he showed incredible sets of skills on all his games, such as his strength, mental power and technique. And he played against the best players in the elite league and was tested well enough.
Brent Flahr said that Vay’s performance against Finland was the one that completely convinced them that Wild need to sign the Hungarian. The scout also highlighted the fact that 2 Wild players tested one of the future NHL stars in this game as Koivu and Granlund also play for Minnesota Wild. In fact, the former one is in fact the team captain of Vay’s new club.
“We didn’t sign Ádám Vay for him to be sitting on the bench as a substitute. He will most probably start in one of the lower leagues, such as ECHL or AHL. Here he will be able to prove his skills and improve as a player. At this age, the most important is to play as often as possible. We want him to improve as much as possible” – continued the scout.
How does Vay appreciate his success?
The future NFL prospect is a really ambitious and determined person, who is ready to fight for making his dreams come true. He talked about his dreams to jegkorongblog.hu in an interview, in which he clearly stated what his goals in life are: to win the Stanley Cup 4 times. Why? Vay wanted to be better than his idol!
“I always want to be the best at everything and I am firmly determined to reach it. I am a bit tough person, sometimes I sound rude even when I don’t mean to. It’s because I am totally honest: I always speak what I think” – said the goalie prospect for NHL about his personality, then added that he is a fighter:
“It was a real shocker when the coach didn’t select me for the U20 World Cup. It was a slap in the face, which I needed very much. I needed to recover myself after that. Sometimes the players need these kinds of things, to learn how to fight and to learn how to get up. If you want to reach anything, you need to learn how to get up.”
“When everything goes perfectly according to the plan, you might never learn how to fight and you won’t end up being as good as you could have been. You need to be ambitious and determined in order to be successful”– closed his words the future NHL goalie prospect, proving that he really is a fighter, who is ready to become the first Hungarian in NHL.