Aurora’s Robert Thomas joins a growing list of Express alumni to hear their name on Draft Day, News (York-Simcoe Express)

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Aurora’s Robert Thomas joins a growing list of Express alumni to hear their name on Draft Day
Submitted By YSE on Monday, June 26, 2017
For many young hockey players, the dream of playing in the NHL, is just that. A dream.  For a select few, however, that dream can turn into a reality. Aurora native, and York Simcoe Express graduate, Robert Thomas, is the latest of Express alumni to hear their name called on draft day, proving that hard work, can lead to a dream come true.

A second-round pick of the OHL’s London Knights in 2015, the 17-year-old Thomas has shown poise, and maturity in two seasons with the Knights thus far, including helping his team secure a Memorial Cup Championship. Last season, Robert tallied 66 points in 66 games for the Knights, which impressed the scouts within the St. Louis Blues organization. Thomas and the Blues already share one common connection, that being long-time Blues’ forward, Keith Tkachuk and his son, and London Knights teammate, Matthew. When the Blues called out Thomas’ name on Friday night, there was little surprise. “It sort of blows by you and goes by so fast,” said Thomas about being selected. “As soon as you hear your name called, everything takes off.  Words can’t really describe it, it’s just a great experience.” 

At the young age of 17, Thomas has already received comparisons to many players, one being former London Knight, and NHL All-Star, Bo Horvat. Thomas admits he’s had to make adjustments to his game since becoming an OHL player though, and feels that those adjustments have helped him get to where he is today. “My 200-foot game has definitely improved since going to London,” says Thomas who plays centre. “My biggest assets I feel are my play making ability and my hockey sense. Those are two things I really strive towards.”

While taking in all the excitement, Robert made sure to acknowledge the many people who helped him get to this point, including his family, who was with him there by his side on draft day. “Having my mom, dad and brother there with me was special. I owe a lot to them. They’ve made many sacrifices over the years to allow me to get to this point,” he said. Speaking of being by his side, his father, Scott, even coached him for a total of five years growing up, and admits it was fun, but difficult at times. “It’s tough,” said his father, Scott. “You sometimes feel you have to be tougher on your kids than others, but having the other coaches there helped bridge the gap from dad to coach. Guys like Ciro Naso, Dan Falbo, Tyler Perry, Tony Ignolla and Mike DePellegrin. We won some championships and hopefully those are things he remembers.” When asked to put his ‘dad hat’ on, and describe the feeling of watching your son get drafted, Scott was at a loss for words. “I don’t really know if words can describe it,” said Scott. “It’s certainly a tremendous honor for him. It’s kind of a numbing feeling. The excitement and the passion; it’s just a tremendous feeling to watch your son go up on that stage.” 

Thomas will most certainly get a long hard look at Blues’ training camp this coming season and with two season remaining of junior eligibility, he’ll most certainly play a prominent role for the Knights in the coming seasons. For now, he’s back home in Aurora, celebrating his major accomplishment with family and friends. 

On behalf of the entire York Simcoe Express organization, congratulations, Robert!

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