ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The Odessa Jackalopes 25-man roster has players from coast to coast in the U.S. and some international athletes who found their way to West Texas. 20-year-old Petr Miko is in his first season with the Jacks and grew up more than 5,000 miles away in the Czech Republic. For Petr, starting a new journey to the United States to pursue his dream was easy, but saying bye to home was a little different.
"It wasn't hard for me, it was hard for my family. My mom was really upset, but I came back home on Christmas break. It was nice to be back home with my family and spend some time together with my friends. It wasn't easy, but that's a hockey career," said Miko.
Petr's West Texas story began when he was at a preseason camp in Sweden. He met the Jacks Assistant Coach Cody Campbell who offered him the opportunity to play for Odessa.
"I want to pursue my dream to NCAA Division I schools. This is better for me to play here because in Europe, there's not too many scouts from the NCAA so it's easier for me to get a D1 scholarship from this league than from my juniors back home in Europe," said Miko.
Petr's passion for hockey brought him here, but his love for the sport started when he was 4-years-old. Lacing up his skates, shooting a puck and skating outdoors.
"That's how I started. That's how everybody started, just on some frozen river or pond, just taking some small skates trying to skate. This was the beginning of every hockey player's career," said Miko.
As Petr's hockey career continues through the Jacks second half of the season, he has found a family in his teammates and has one goal for the end of the season.
"We are really close to each other. I didn't change a lot of teams in my career, this is my fourth team. I need to say that this is the closest team that I have ever been a part of. I want to win a championship here because back home I have never won a trophy. We were just third, so I came here to win," said Miko.
The Jackalopes continue their three-game series against the Amarillo Bullson Friday night in Amarillo.