Taking Liberties With… Tomas Sholl
Position: Goaltender, Idaho Steelheads (ECHL)
Hometown: Hermosa Beach
Last Amateur Team: Bowling Green State University (WCHA, NCAA D-I)
Youth Team: Los Angeles Jr. Kings
A little more than a year ago, Tomas Sholl was in the Southern Professional Hockey League.
Now, the goaltender is collecting honors in the ECHL at the rate he’s been stopping pucks – by the bushel. Sholl recently was selected to the ECHL’s All-Rookie Team and then was named All-ECHL Second team. He also led the Idaho Steelheads into the ECHL playoffs.
California Rubber: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Tomas Sholl: What stands out to me was the Quebec Pee Wee tournament team when I was young. It was a lot of fun being that young and playing in a full stadium. Teams coming from all over the world, it’s a unique time.
CR: What is your favorite memory in the game since leaving California?
TS: When I was in junior with the Fresno Monsters (then of the NAHL), we played an outdoor game against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, which is where my brother (Mattias) plays, ironically, and we got the win. It was four degrees. They split the games into four periods because it was so cold, and they didn’t want us out there the full 20 minutes.
CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you on and off the ice?
TS: Of course, my dad (Brad) when I was younger. I always watched him play in men’s leagues and Pro Beach Hockey. He was a goalie. I always wanted to wear the pads. A lot of kids have fascinations with goalies, but their parents don’t want them to do it. My dad was all for it because he was a goalie. He let that spark grow because he had been one.
CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
TS: When I was a lot younger I played soccer and baseball, but I never really pursued them. In the summers, I play tennis sometimes. I can’t say I’m good, but it’s a good workout.
CR: Are there are any pieces of gear you’re particular about or do you have any superstitions?
TS: In college, I was a little more uptight and didn’t have as much success. Heading into pro, I tried to approach things with more of an open mind. I’m not as tense and that’s helped me mentally prepare for games. I’m sure I’m not the most easy-going guy. I like to describe myself as routined. I try to do things the same way.
CR: What are essential items to take on a road trip?
TS: One of the best things in Boise is we have committed owners. We fly to every game except Utah, which is only a three- or four-hour drive. We have to wear suits to the game. So I’ll bring one and a pair of casual clothes. I usually bring a set of workout clothes. You should bring your ID and your passport. I’ve heard horror stories of guys getting called up and not being able to because they don’t have their passport.
CR: When you’re back in California, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant?
TS: In-N-Out is a mandatory stop, but I’m pretty partial to Mexican food. No place has it better.
CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
TS: I was a huge Kings fan, so pretty much whoever was the goaltender. But Felix Potvin stands out. I think he set a record for the most shutouts in a season. Krispy Kreme had this promotion where you’d get a coupon for free donuts if a Kings goalie had a shutout. I must have gotten those every weekend. I just love watching goalies, so guys like Dominik Hasek, Patrick Roy and Ed Belfour were others.
CR: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what do you think you’d be doing?
TS: Hopefully using my degree for something. I had a double major in finance and economics. I always thought I’d stay in the mix in some way on the side. I’d like to stay involved in the game.
CR: What is the most challenging aspect of playing pro hockey?
TS: Unless you’re a superstar, there’s not a whole lot of security. You can get traded or released at any time. If you’re not playing well, you can feel a lot of stress. There’s not a lot of grace period out there. It’s tough to see your buddies get traded throughout the year. You become good friends with guys, but they might get traded and then you might not see them for a year or more.
Photo/Noah Saucerman Pitts
— Compiled by Chris Bayee
(May 14, 2019)