Hockey may have been in Holik's blood, but he worked hard every step of the way to becoming one of the greatest talents his country had ever known. His father, who could not stand sloppy habits or laziness, was sometimes very tough with him. Whenever young Robert slackened in his duties, his father would take him to a factory gate early in the morning. "If you don't work hard, you'll end up in here," he said. "It is better to make a living doing something you enjoy." That always helped Robert to regain his focus.
Holik gained a reputation for his hard shot and physical style of play. He was also a headstrong player who stopped for no one. Just as Andrea Holik ruled the world's tennis courts in the late 1980s, so the offensive trio of Jaromir Jagr, Robert Reichel and Robert Holik reigned over junior hockey, playing together in the 1990 World Junior Championships. After that tournament all three entered the NHL, but each headed to a different city: Reichel to Calgary, Jagr to Pittsburgh and Holik to Hartford.
Bobby scored 20 goals in each of his first two seasons. In 1992, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils, where he did not ease up one bit. After the Stanley Cup win in 1995 Bobby Holik took a drink of alcohol for the first time in his life.
However harsh he may sometimes appear on the ice, away from the rink he is the quiet, studious type, often reading up on history and the arts. On road trips, he prefers visiting museums and galleries over lying in his hotel room and watching television. A short TV profile of him was filmed at the Thomas Alva Edison museum. In Dallas, on the 30th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy, he toured the spot where the president was shot. He also likes fishing and outdoor excursions.
In 1991 Holik had lined up for Czechoslovakia in the World Championships in Finland, but his next international experience did not come until the World Cup of Hockey in 1996. It would be the first and only time he appeared in the uniform of the Czech Republic, as he became a U.S. citizen shortly after the tournament, giving up his Czech citizenship.
In 1996-97 and 1997-98 Holik led his team in scoring, netting a career-high 29 goals in the latter season. In 2000, his checking ability was central to New Jersey's success in the Stanley Cup finals, as the club won its second championship.
After two more seasons in New Jersey, Holik signed as a free-agent with the New York Rangers in the summer of 2002 and went on to play two seasons with the club before having his playing rights acquired by the Atlanta Thrashers in the summer of 2005. In his first season as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers, Holik registered 33 points and missed 18 games with a broken foot. The following season he played all 82 games and helped the Thrashers to their first Southeast Division championship. At the start of the 2007-08 season, Holik was named captain of the Atlanta Thrashers. Despite having his best offensive season in Atlanta in 2007-08, Holik was not re-signed by the club.
In the summer of 2008 Holik signed a one-year contract with his former club, the New Jersey Devils.