Kapusta new owner, takes reins of WSHL’s San Diego Sabers
Tomas Kapusta has spent a lifetime in hockey and wants to pass on his knowledge and understanding of the game to those in the junior hockey world.
Earlier this offseason, Kapusta purchased the San Diego Sabers, a Tier II team that plays in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL). He’ll also serve as the general manager and assistant coach of the team moving ahead into the 2017-18 season when the team will again call the Ice-Plex in Escondido its home rink.
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers back in 1984, Kapusta played 20 years of professional hockey and also represented the Czech Republic at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. He has coached youth hockey for the last 14 years and will serve as the Ontario Jr. Reign’s 18U AAA head coach next season. Kapusta also earned his teaching credential from CSULB.
“I have devoted my entire life to hockey,” Kapusta said. “This latest opportunity to grow junior hockey continues that passion. After my professional playing days, I began to coach youth hockey, but my dream is far from over.
“The San Diego Sabers are committed to the personal growth and hockey development of players, as well as the promotion of hockey in the surrounding San Diego community.”
Starting with the 2017-18 season, Kapusta said his intention is to build and promote the Sabers. He said with the WSHL being sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), it will allow him to bring over players from Europe to skate in the league.
“Being part of the AAU allows us to have up to 14 imports, which differs from USA Hockey-sanctioned leagues that only allow 2-4 imports per team,” explained Kapusta. “The fact that the WSHL allows teams to have so many imports adds to the strength and depth of the WSHL.”
Kapusta wants to give an opportunity to as many local junior-aged players as possible as there are plenty of players who are looking for opportunities to play locally and still pursue their college dreams.
When it comes to on- and off-ice training, Kapusta expects the Sabers to be one of the best conditioned in the league.
“Sabers players will experience an intense on-ice hour-long practice four times a week from Monday through Thursday, which is preceded by an off-ice workout at the rink facility, and succeeded by a gym workout at the 24K CrossFit training facility,” said Kapusta. “The team will play 1-3 times a week, with the home games taking place on either on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and our away games can also be played on Thursdays. This setup will allow players to attend high school, local colleges or night schools.”
At the end of the day, Kapusta said development for college hockey and an overall positive experience is the top priority for the Sabers players.
“Our intention is to build a very competitive program for years to come, and provide an educational opportunity to junior players all over the world who can´t make right away the top junior leagues in the USA and Canada, such as the USHL, BCHL, WHL, NAHL, or who simply want to have a life-changing educational experience of learning a new language and culture,” Kapusta said. “While playing in the WSHL, players will have a chance to develop into Division I and Division III college-caliber players while playing near their home and/or gaining a unique, international experience at one of the most attractive communities in California.
“While giving this extraordinary opportunity, players will be able to mature physically and mentally into players who will be able to compete not only at various colleges in the United States and Canada, but may receive additional opportunities playing in with various international teams and leagues. We believe that the Sabers cost is very affordable and reflects its unique opportunity while providing the best service and experience in an attractive San Diego area known for its beaches, parks, and warm climate.”
There will a one-day tryout for the Sabers on Sunday, June 18, at 9 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. in Escondido. For more information, contact Kapusta at email@example.com.
— Matt Mackinder