The Hershey Bears were packing up for a trip Charlotte when Tomas Kundratek was spared of the nine-hour bus ride. Instead, general manager Doug Yingst told him he was getting the call up to the Washington Capitals.
“It’s unreal feeling,” the defenseman said. “I’m really excited.”
Kundratek played 21 games with Hershey after a trade from the New York Rangers and put up six goals and two assists. He’ll make his NHL debut Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I was trying to do my best with the development team, so I was hoping I’ll get called up because I wanted to work hard and get the chance to play here,” Kundratek said.
He’s set to play with veteran Roman Hamrlik, something Dale Hunter noted was because the two Czechs could communicate and because Hamrlik is a veteran presence.
“We have to start to playing simple, it looks like we’re going to play together and I’ll try to help him out as much as I can and hopefully he’ll be fine early in the game and gain some confidence,” Hamrlik said.
For the 22-year-old Kundratek, skating alongside the former No. 1 overall pick is something of a dream.
“I was watching that guy since I was young and it’s unreal,” he said. “It’ll be huge experience and I’m really looking forward [to it].”
For more on Tomas Kundratek and his whirlwind couple months, check out Thursday’s Washington Times.