Selected 87th overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft less than two weeks ago, Czech defenseman Tomas Hamara’s silky puck handling and sleek skating moves were on full display this past week at Ottawa Senators Development Camp.
Hamara’s impression on the Senators brass didn’t go unnoticed. The youngest d-man to play for Tappara in the Finnish Liiga last season was rewarded with an entry-level contract at camp’s conclusion.
Assistant general manager Trent Mann said of Hamara, “Tomas is mobile, puck-moving defenceman who demonstrated those abilities throughout the course of our recently completed development camp, We’re excited about tracking his progression next season as he works toward becoming a future Ottawa Senator.”
Full Press Hockey had an exclusive opportunity to speak to the 18-year old at the Sensplex in Kanata Wednesday.
But first a comment from Hamara courtesy of the Senators upon signing his ELC.
“I’m super happy and excited. It’s a dream come true. But now the real work starts. I’d like to thank my family and my “second family” from Finland, all of my coaches, friends and teammates for helping me. I wouldn’t be here without (them).”
Full Press Hockey: “Now that you’ve had time to settle after a few days, what was it like Friday after you were selected?”
Tomas Hamara: “It was great. I had such good feelings after. I was so happy and I saw my parents. They were so proud and crying. It was a really nice moment. It was really good afterwards, especially after all the sacrifices I made in life. I got so many text messages. It was so nice people remembered me from when I was like 10 years old. They sent me meassages. It was a nice feeling.”
FPH: “Did you have an opportunity to experience the atmosphere in Montreal?”
Hamara: “I was also there (at the Bell Centre) on the first day watching the First Round. It was perfect. I heard it would be a great show. It was even better than what I thought.”
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FPH: “You played junior for Tappara U20 and Tappara in the Finnish Liiga last season. You moved from Czechia to pursue a career in hockey at a young age, can you describe what that move was like for you?”
Hamara: “I moved when I was 14-years old from Czech to Finland because I felt there was better development for players, and that would help me more to get into the NHL. It was really tough at the beginning. I was14 and I moved alone, so I had to cook and do the dishes and everything by myself. It was really difficult in the beginning. I’m so glad I did it, because now it’s easier to move here. I think it was the greatest experience in my whole life, and I’m so glad I did that.”
Hamara said his favourite player is Thomas Chabot after seeing him play at the World Juniors on tv. https://t.co/ymqDw5GLRO pic.twitter.com/OAbcp4Vqqj
— Murray Pam (@Pammerhockey) July 8, 2022
FPH: “You signed a two-year contract to play for Tappara starting next season. Is your plan still to play in Finland?”
Hamara: “We don’t know yet actually. I have options to go to Kitchener (OHL) or stay in Finland. We’ll see what we decide.”
FPH: “You come to development immediately after being drafted and get to learn from new Senators development coach Wade Redden? What can you learn from him?”
Hamara: “I think it’s awesome, I can learn from someone who played the game himself and knows how it goes – knows how we feel as players coming here to camp. I think it’s great he can teach us a lot of good things – a lot good advice. I’m really glad we have someone like him here. I try to listen a lot and try to take in as many things as possible that can help me and the team.”
FPH: “If I do the math, you were probably 13 when you watched the 2017 World Junior Championship and current Senator Thomas Chabot became your favourite player. You then modelled your game after him. What did you see in Thomas’ game that you liked so much?”
Hamara: “I was at home watching the World Juniors on tv, and I think Canada was playing the United States probably. I can’t remember who it was. I remember (Chabot) was just standing out – his skating, his hands, his vision – it was awesome. He just caught my eye. I didn’t know who he was. Since then I looked him up where he played and I started following him.”
FPH: “You also were able to meet Thomas via FaceTime. What was the experience of meeting him like for you?”
Hamara: “It wasn’t expected. I told the Senators he was my favourite player. In five minutes they gave me the phone and he was there on FaceTime. It was a suprise and so nice. I was shocked. It was great. The two minutes he talked to me was awesome. I’ll remember that.”
Tomas Hamara (2022) scores his first goal of the season to give Tappara 2-1 lead over TuTo in today’s U20 action.
Hamara is now up to 13 points in 22 games this season. #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/uMswJ8v23w
— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) November 28, 2020
The post FPH Exclusive – Q & A with Ottawa Senators Prospect Tomas Hamara appeared first on Full Press Hockey.
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