Ottawa

Former Senator Radek Bonk is back in Ottawa as a minor hockey coach

Longtime Ottawa Senator Radek Bonk is now enjoying his new role as a coach for his son's Kanata Blazers peewee team.

Czech forward came back to live in his wife's hometown after retiring, now coaching kids

Radek Bonk is in his third season as a minor hockey coach, the first in the Czech Republic and last two in Ottawa. He says his father and Jacques Martin are two of the coaches he's learned a lot from. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Radek Bonk's hockey journey has taken him from the Czech Republic to Ottawa — for the second time.

The Czech forward was a first round draft pick of the Senators in 1994, playing 10 seasons in the capital before moving on.

He played professional hockey until 2014, when he retired from a Czech league, then returned to his wife's hometown where he's now coaching his son's Kanata Blazers peewee team.

"It's great. I still want to be out there playing, but I can't anymore," he said after the Blazers 5-3 win in their opening game of the Bell Capital Cup Friday morning.

"I learned a lot from my coaches and I hope I can give some of that back to the kids."

Radek Bonk (centre) played 689 games with the Senators, staking out a reputation as a two-way player and making two All-Star games before being traded to Los Angeles in 2004. (Canadian Press)

Bonk, who turns 41 in January, said his dad coached him during the early years of his hockey career so he's trying to do the same for his three hockey-playing kids, though he spends most of his time with his son Oliver's team.

"I still have a passion for the game," he said.

Other parents on that Blazers team said they can tell.

"He's like a big kid, it's like watching someone who's your son's age but he's 40 years old," said Paul Lebreux. "It's great to see.

"[He has] lots of energy, loves to be out on the ice with the kids, you just see that passion."

Bonk, who's still playing beer-league hockey, said he'll see where his coaching career goes.

"With three kids in hockey, I always want to be there," he said. "Right now, I'm just having fun doing it. There's a lot of things to learn as a coach."

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