From Czech Republic to the United States, or Zlín to Long Beach, Tomas Urbanec never imagined the type of impact he would have on the Western States Hockey League; 352 regular season points later, the young forward has gone beyond breaking club records, and into league-wide prestige.
It comes as no secret that Urbanec enjoys the thrill of scoring, and you would think that after so many to his name, it would lose its luster. Well, his opening goal on Friday was one of many, but also one of very few.
Urbanec broke Jakob Kranabetter’s All-Time Points record becoming just the second player in WSHL history to reach and surpass the 350-point mark.
(Photo by Michelle Holcomb, Dallas Snipers)
Breaking records and holding distinctions is becoming a recurring allegory for Urbanec who commented that it became increasingly stressful to reach the mark the closer he got.
“I cared about the record because I was so close to it,” Urbanec said. “It’s my last year and if I couldn’t beat it now I would never get the chance to.”
Urbanec spent the length of five seasons representing the Long Beach Bombers where his impact was immeasurable and left him as the club’s All-Time Leader in goals, assists, and points.
Former Head Coach, Chris White, spent the entirety of Urbanec’s junior hockey upbringing helping to shape and develop a would-be, all-time leader in multiple categories.
(Photo by Mark Mauno, WSHL)
“Everyone knew Tomáš was a goal scorer, from day one, when he arrived as a fifteen year-old. Since then, he has rounded out his game, immensely,” White said. “He is so dangerous when short-handed, he’s lethal on the power play, and he plays much more physical, now. All the numbers are amazing, but I think it’s the dedication and longevity that stand out the most.”
Like Kranabetter was, Urbanec is a five-year veteran whose had the opportunity to play with many. But also, Chris White acknowledges that reaching the mark wasn’t an individual effort by all means.
“It’s exhausting to think of all the teammates that played their part in Tomáš accomplishing this feat. As is common with most hockey players, he’s gone through some ups and downs, throughout the years. Despite that, he has stuck with it and continued to work hard. He’s a special player, and it’s been fun to watch him develop on and off the ice.”
Of players that shared a locker room with Urbanec for many years is Domenic Bosetti. Bosetti was the backbone and No. 1 goalie for the Bombers team, particularly, over the last couple years when Urbanec put up 81, and 91-point seasons.
“Tomas is a great kid who has been through a lot and has dedicated countless hours to improving since he got to the United States,” Bosetti said. “He will continue to grow as he continues to play and deserves all the praise he gets.”
(Photo by Manny Brizuela, WSHL)
Reaching career point 352 required the assistance of countless teammates, and two different clubs in 2019-2020. For the first time in his WSHL career, Urbanec was involved in a mid-season trade.
Urbanec started the 2019-2020 campaign as a member of the Las Vegas Thunderbirds. It was immediately apparent that he would be the crux of the team’s core. He quickly paved a way to the top of the team’s scoring list and helped them to eight straight victories starting the season.
“Tomas is a very hard working player, loved having him around. He carried us offensively for months, and is one of the reasons we are in the position we are now,” Thunderbirds Head Coach Dave Hyrsky said. “I’m glad he is getting the recognition he deserves.”
Las Vegas came home after its first road trip of the season with something more than just an 8-0-0 record, it returned with the league’s All-Time Goal Scoring Leader, as Urbanec scored his 136th career goal on Oct. 24.
Following Showcase, El Paso acquired Urbanec, in a move that may not be as unprecedented as many would think.
If you recall 2017-2018, the fifth year Valencia Flyer, Kranabetter, was also in the hunt for the same distinction. He was picked up by the Rhinos and then batted the All-Time Points record—along with a Thorne Cup title.
It’s shaping up to be the perfect concoction of championship hunger. Where the Rhinos want to make history with three consecutive titles, a long-time vet is still searching for his first and only.
“Barring injury, this record seemed to be inevitable, heading into the season. I’ll have chills, watching the game, when he finally does it.,” White said prior to Friday’s game. “However, I’m most excited to watch the next couple months, to see if he is able to finish his storied career by hoisting the Thorne Cup, on April 4.”
In just 11 games with El Paso, Urbanec is already 10th among scoring leaders with 6G-13A-19P. He mentions that the demanding on and off-ice routines are enjoyable and that it has been smooth to work with a new coaches, new mentalities, and new approaches.
Urbanec is in his final season of junior hockey and nothing will be sweeter than capping off another historical season with the WSHL’s prized possession held high.
Urbanec currently has 357 points after the weekend against Northern Colorado*