Topeka goalie Tomek makes NCAA DI commitment
January 2, 2015
The Topeka RoadRunners, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce goaltender Matej Tomek has committed to play his NCAA Division I college hockey at the University of North Dakota beginning in the fall of 2015. North Dakota are members of the NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference).
Tomek is from Bratislava, Slovakia and is listed on NHL Central Scouting's B list (meaning he's a projected early round draft pick) and he has been scouted and recruited heavily throughout the season. Having several options on the table made for a challenging decision, but North Dakota seemed like the right fit for the 17-year old netminder.
"It was a very tough decision for me, but I chose UND because I feel they will best help me grow both as a player and as a person," said Tomek. His major is undecided at this time, but he certainly has plenty of time for that.
As a youth, seeing the Slovakian national team win the 2002 World Championship in their own version of "Miracle On Ice" by defeating Russia 4-3 sparked a desire in him to the play the game, along with countless other youth of his country.
"We didn't really have set positions. But whenever we would split up to play, I always went to the net", he recalls of his earliest hockey days. "My father bought me my first pads, and I've enjoyed playing goalie ever since," remarked Tomek.
How does a young man from Bratislava land over 5,100 miles away in Topeka, Kansas to chase his hockey dreams? RoadRunner Head Coach / GM Scott Langer had been in contact with Matej's advisor Scott Russell for some time.
"Scott has a work ethic for his players that is tremendous," Langer said. "We took the recruiting season to form a relationship and prove that Topeka and the NAHL would be a solid stepping stone for Matej's future."
For Tomek, he too did his research about his options. "My goal was to play college hockey, and Topeka's coaching staff and superior organization seemed to give me the best opportunity."
Langer recognizes his young goalie's methodical approach, and attributes that in part to his success. "Matej is an extremely level headed young man, especially for his age. Everything he does is well thought out. He has garnered a lot of attention and has taken it in stride like a pro."
Tomek is eligible for the NHL Entry Draft this year, to be held June 26-27, 2015 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.