NHL: David Pastrnak on his incredible rise and nurturing future stars in China

NHL: David Pastrnak on his incredible rise and nurturing future stars in China

(CNN) – Aged three, David Pastrnak took his first steps on the ice. Fast forward 19 years and the winger is playing under the bright lights of the National Hockey League (NHL).

But progression to America’s top league wasn’t always on the cards.

Speaking to CNN’s Rhiannon Jones, Pastrnak talks of the difficulties which came with learning the game while growing up in the Czech Republic.

“I didn’t follow the NHL until I was 16 years old because the time [difference] was tough,” he says.

But a genuine love for the sport helped Pastrnak develop and it’s that same enthusiasm which saw him drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2014.

Now preparing for his side’s second tour of China, the 22-year-old is eager to give back and develop ice hockey all around the world.

“It’s fun, it’s a new experience. The Chinese people will like it and hopefully the hockey will grow.”

But it’s not only in China where Pastrnak is hoping to develop talent. He recently returned to Sweden, where he previously played for two seasons, attending a junior side’s training session to share his tips on reaching the pinnacle of the sport.

“See you in the NHL”, he says to an excited fan as he leaves their locker room.