Jindrich Pacl, more commonly known by the more anglicised Henry, is currently playing for the Manchester Storm. He’s known to a lot of fans in the Elite League as he’s previously played for the Nottingham Panthers, where he had much success as part of the trio of netminders who helped backstop them to the Continental Cup and the Milton Keynes Lightning, where he was brought in as injury cover for their starting netminder Miika Wiikman. While with both teams, he became a fan favourite. He’s a friendly guy and when you get him onto a subject he loves (like MMA for example) he’s more than happy to talk about them.
I caught up with Henry recently, now that he’s settled in with the Storm to have a chat and welcome him to the Behind The Mask series.
I began with asking him about his first memories of ice hockey. It’s always interesting to know how it is for people from different countries, especially countries with a bigger hockey presence than the UK. “I remember going to hockey games with my dad. We watched the Czech top league in Pilsen. My hockey hero growing up was Dušan Salficky. He’s a Czech goalie and he played in Pilsen. Whenever the team won, he’d have a big celebration with fans, sometimes he’d sit on the zamboni wearing a giant sombrero. He was and is my hockey hero.”
Henry’s tattoos are very distinctive, while you can’t see them when he’s in his full gear, he has posted many pictures of them on his social media and I wanted to know more about the ones he has already and any he plans for the future. “I got my first tattoo when I was 15.” He begins, but quickly adds “But it’s covered now. It was a Chinese pig on my leg. I was a stupid kid. My favourite tattoo is of my granddad, on my shoulder. Each tattoo has a story and that one is for him. I also have my home, a Czech lion, a panther as I played there and on my left hand is a Spartan warrior as I love the movie 300 and my heart is from the club Sparta Prague.” He’s very much into his tattoos and definitely wants to add more, saying he wants a full body. “It’s a never ending story, I don’t like the blank space.” However he explains, he still has plenty of space left to fill and at only 23, he’s got many more years and adventures left ahead of him to inspire his next piece.
Having seen his playlist with the Manchester Storm I definitely couldn’t resist asking more about his music tastes.
His responses didn’t disappoint! “I love lots of bands my favourite band is Judas Priest but I love heavy metal and punk rock the best. Rob Halford (lead singer for Judas Priest) is the best for me. I saw them in concert three times and every time was an excellent adventure!” His first ever gig was seeing Iron Maiden in Prague a few days after Bruce Dickinson’s 50th birthday and he says it was amazing, which I wholeheartedly agree with!
I wondered if he remembered the first album he ever bought. “I have so many albums but my first was a Czech band I think or maybe Judas Priest British Steel! It’s one of the best. Heavy Metal and Punk Rock are the best! I’m allergic on rap and that sh*t.”
However, he tells me, he never listens to music before a game.
Henry designs his own masks, this year he has included his MMA sports hero Karlos Vemola. “I have a best mask now. Terminator and Karlos Vemola. He’s a Czech MMA fighter and he lives in the UK! He’s my sports hero!” His mask was designed by Czech designer Bohumil Koral.
Henry talked briefly about his move to Manchester. It’s still early days there but he sounds excited about adding another team to his resume. “Another adventure.” He said simply.
Pacl just couldn’t resist talking about cars. Another of his big off ice passions. His first car was far better than mine, he had a Mini Cooper S. I on the other hand, had a Citreon Saxo, that was 12 years old when I got it! His dream car is a Ford Mustang GT.
Thank you so much Henry for your time in answering my questions! Good luck for the season with the Manchester Storm.