Thomas Lacombe has committed to Union College and is scheduled to be rostered for the 2020-2021 season. He has been noted by our scouts for his speed, vision, and puck handling skills; a young player with a good upside. Thomas grew up in the french speaking town of Deux Montagnes, Quebec and is currently playing for the New Jersey Titans of the NAHL.
Thomas tells us about his development with the Titans so far, “I’ve never learned so much in a short period of time. The differences from MPHL are the speed and the physical side of the game. It’s not easy to play against older guys, but this will help me. . . when I [play] at Union College with older players. Crediting his coaches Craig Doremus and Bobby Dirico, “I am using more details to become a better player. Being the youngest player [on] the team, and also of the league, I had to adapt to play the game with the same skills. My statistics aren’t there but I have great chances and believe that the results will come.”
Playing against older players in one of the best junior leagues in North America was not his only hurdle.“This year [has] probably [been] the biggest challenge, being far from home in another country [and living with a] billet family. [Also speaking] another language other than french and playing in Junior hockey, it took me a couple of months to adjust, but I know that this had to be done. I met the challenge with a positive attitude.”
Coming out of Quebec, NCAA isn’t the typical route. “The recruitment process was a new experience for my family and I because this path is different from the usual process that we know in Quebec.” His recruitment started last year, while playing for Bishop College Prep. As things got more serious he continued the conversation with Maine, Nebraska-Omaha, Sacred Heart, Niagara, UMass Lowell, Miami-Ohio, St. Cloud, RPI, Bemidji State and Union College.
“I decided to commit to Union College for a number of reasons,” Thomas explains, “Union has a great hockey program that is well recognized, having made several regular season championships, two Frozen Fours, and having won a NCAA Championship over the last 5 years. In addition, the coaching staff is known to be excellent and when I spoke with them they [thought] highly of me.” Hockey was not only the reason Thomas choose Union, “It’s also very important for me and my parents that school and education has a place in my hockey dream. Union College is located in Schenectady, New York, close to home, is a Division 1 program in the ECAC hockey Conference, and has high [educational] standards.”
Thomas was drafted to the QMJHL in 2017, “I was listed 42nd overall by the CSR QMJHL scouts and was drafted 4th round by the Drakkar Baie Comeau, but did not go to the camp to keep my NCAA Eligibility.” We asked why he chose NCAA hockey, “For several years the hockey world [has] talked about the fact that the development and maturity of hockey players is very important and may be reached at an older age. By taking the NCAA route I think I am giving myself the opportunity to reach this long [term] development.”
Thomas has notched 7 points in 20 games this season for the Titans, netting 3 goals and 4 assists.
Photo credit: Hickling Image