Last night Tomas Hyka made his NHL debut, one that has been in the makings for the a 24-year-old from Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic for quite some time. Hyka is a classic NHL underdog, and his journey to making his debut for the best team in the league is somewhat of a wild one.
It dates back to 2011 when he was invited to training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers after being undrafted.
I had a really good camp there, like I did here, I scored and did a little celly, it was funny, but they couldn’t sign me. I don’t even know the reason they couldn’t sign me. It was kind of sad. -Tomas Hyka
The reason is a rule in the CBA that says players born outside North America must go undrafted twice before they can be signed to a contract with an NHL team. Hyka had only been through one draft, so despite being offered a contract, and possibly a spot on an NHL roster at the age of 18, he couldn’t sign with the Flyers. Instead of going home though, he played for the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL where he scored 20 goals and tallied 64 points in 50 games. That put his name back on the radar for the 2012 Draft.
Then I got drafted by the Kings and they did not really give me the opportunity. -Hyka
In fact, he was never even invited to a training camp with the Kings. Back to Gatineau he went, where he scored another 20 goals and put up 54 more points for his second straight year in the QMJHL. Yet, the call still never came from the Kings.
Hyka then returned home to play for his hometown team, BK Mlada Boleslav for three of the next four years waiting until the Kings gave up his NHL rights. That happened this Summer and the Golden Knights did not wait long to pounce.
When Vegas wanted to sign me I was like ‘for sure I want to do it!’ -Hyka