Exclusive with Oliver Bonk: Getting to know the Flyers defenseman

Oliver Bonk
Oliver Bonk

There is no doubt how talented Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Oliver Bonk is on the ice. After an impressive season in the OHL with the London Knights, the right-handed defender has been a standout at development camp. Coaches such as Riley Armstrong even highlighted how mature Bonk’s game is.

The 22nd overall in the 2023 draft spoke to Philly Sports Network, giving insight into his second development camp and game:

Q: Denver (Barkey) said you two are like brothers. Can you describe your relationship with him? 

O.B.: We’ve been playing together for three years now. We spent training camps together and have done everything together. You see a guy that much, it’s tough not to like him. He’s such a great guy, and I feel close to him.

Q: London went well for you (London Knights OHL). Can you explain what made this year different? 

O.B.: Our success in London was a result of our team’s unity and commitment. We had a great group of players, and everyone was fully invested in the system we were playing. Our top guys were exceptional, and our collective effort took us far.

Q: The other day, you said you’re not the strongest, not the fastest, but the hardest worker. Where did you get the mentality from since that’s a very mature outlook? 

O.B: I think you have to be self-aware. I’m not 230 like some of these defensemen, and I’m not the strongest among these guys, but my mental game has always been one of the best. I’m just more self-aware and noticed I play to my strengths. 

Q: Do you think your dad had any impact on your mentality? 

O.B.: Yes, but he never really told me that. You have to know for yourself what you’re good at and what you’re not. 

Q: Did he (Radek Bonk) advise you for camp this year? 

O.B: Do your best, play your heart out, and leave it all here. You don’t want to go home with any regrets. 

Q: With what you said, do you feel like you lived up to that advice? 

O.B.: We have the game tomorrow, so that’s a big thing to look forward to. I made some mistakes, which is going to happen, but I think I tried my best. That’s what matters. 

Q: Were there any guys at camp you felt you got closer with this year? 

O.B: Yes! (Alex) Ciernik, (Matteo) Mann, (Sam) Sedley, and there’s a lot of guys, (Hunter) McDonald too. I didn’t really know him (McDonald) at all last camp, and he almost ran me over during the five-on-five, so I decided to make friends with him early so he wouldn’t do that again. Thankfully, we’re on the same team. I’m close with him and a couple more guys. It’s always great to come here and make some new friends. 

Q: I know you want to make the team, but do you have any goals for yourself in case you do go back to London? 

O.B.: Yes, keep improving and working on your game. It’s great to get points like that, but you can only sometimes measure your performance by that (points). I just need to keep improving.

Q: Besides what you do on the ice, is there something people don’t know about you? 

O.B: I’m a pretty open book. It’s just hockey for me, but I’m a big pickleballer, too. We have a court at home, so I play a lot of that, but it’s really just hockey.