Hertl’s Swell Season

Many ice hockey players represented by Sport Invest have had successful seasons. Seven of them fought valiantly at the 2019 Ice Hockey World Championships, where the Czech national team only lost the third place to Russia after a penalty shootout. Two of them then also had a shot at the famous Stanley Cup.

Petr Mrázek’s Carolina went all the way to Conference Finals, where they lost to Boston. Tomáš Hertl’s San Jose also lost in the Conference Finals, to St. Louis. It was a great year for both of them; and for Hertl, probably the best year of his career so far.

The twenty-five-year-old former Slavia player has been with the Sharks for six seasons and in the 77 regular season games he scored 74 points for 35 goals and 39 assists – more than in the two previous seasons combined. He added further 10 goals and 5 assists in the playoffs, making him a crucial player for the team, an indisputable linchpin who was sent on the ice in decisive moments and handled key face-offs.

“I’m really happy because it’s been going great since the beginning, I’ve had no reason to complain. I was given a lot of space on the ice and I’m glad I was able to score points regularly, put up great performances and show that I’m effective and useful to the team,” says Hertl, who had also signed a new 4-year contract with the club prior to the 2018-2019 season.

And Sharks could corroborate in this season that it had been a brilliant investment. Even before the season started, Hertl had an inkling that his team could aim really high in the playoffs. “The club managed to keep the most important players, the core players are strong and the younger guys have also shown their strengths in the previous season. We’re strong and our goal is clear: We want to win the Stanley Cup,” Hertl had said. “I’m not scared of being one of the leaders of the team. I want to be someone the team can rely on in every situation.”

His words indeed came to pass. Hertl was one of the powerhouses that took San Jose all the way to the NHL semi-finals. “However, you can never say a season was perfect unless you’ve won the Stanley Cup, the prize you work hard for all year. It was hard to get over losing to St. Louis in the Conference Final,” Hertl said about the clash with the subsequent winner of the Stanley Cup. “I managed to surprise even myself. I scored some goals that I think might be included in the best plays of the year video summary. At least my dad will stop saying I only score rebound goals,” he laughed. “When the season started, I thought I’d be happy with 25 goals. I’m so glad I could show that I can be a scorer too. But I’m not resting on my laurels. I want to continue working hard, be a team leader and an even more effective player who can deliver for his team,” concluded Hertl.

He proved his fighting spirit in the playoffs, when he broke his little finger and still went on to play. “It was the last training session before the playoffs, and somebody hit me in the hand with a stick. I touched the end of my finger and I could hear the dislocated bones crunching. I finished the practice so that the journalists wouldn’t get wind of the injury, but then I went straight to the hospital, where an X-ray showed the tip of my finger was broken in two places,” Hertl described.

Instead of taking a rest, though, he went back on the ice. “I had to get injections before every game so that I could play. After the season ended, I went straight to surgery, otherwise the bones would never set right. I got a screw in my finger. It looked like I had three pinkies.”

“Tomáš is a hard worker. I’ve been working with him since he was sixteen and I know how strong his work ethic is. I’ve always believed that if he’s fit and uninjured, he’ll show what’s in him. He was given a well-deserved opportunity in the club and seized it, becoming the top pick forward. He’s a key player and I believe he’ll go even further and become even better,” says Robert Spálenka, managing director of Sport Invest hockey section.