Interview: Thomas Daskas’ Development with Lone Star Leads to Air Force Commitment

’99-born winger Thomas Daskas is well traveled. The Michigan native has experience in the T1EHL and has played parts of three junior hockey seasons in the CCHL and NAHL. This season, the 6-foot-2 foward has seen his offensive totals explode, with 26 points (10g-16a) in 30 games. The development in his game has earned him a commitment from Air Force.

NZ: How did you first get involved with hockey as kid?

Daskas: “I got involved with hockey from my dad. I was born in Mississauga, Ontario and both my parents lived in the Toronto area for most of their lives and hockey is very big there. My dad is a die-hard Leaf fan and when I was young he naturally wanted me to try it out, and since then I have never looked back and been loving the sport all my life.”

NZ: What has your experience been like in the NAHL? Where do you feel like your game has grown the most in juniors?

Daskas: “My experience in the NAHL has been good. It was tough at first for sure, trying to find find where I fit. I started off in Shreveport and was there all through training camp and the showcase. Unfortunately it didn’t end up working there, but then Coach Wildfong gave me a call and saw something in me that he liked and was willing to give me a shot, and the rest is history.

“Lone Star is a great place to be for junior hockey. The coaching staff is great and have taught me a lot that has helped me take my game to the next level. Also, my billets, the fans and just the area in general is great, I love being here. I feel like that my compete level has grown the most. Coach Wildfong knows his players very well and knows what their limits are and pushes us to get out of our comfort zone, and therefore gets us to work hard and improve on whatever is lacking in your game.”

NZ: Where do you feel your strengths are as a player?

Daskas: “I feel like my biggest strength as a player is my skating ability. I am a good skater and I take pride in trying to perfect my stride and always looking for advice to improve it. I also have good playmaking abilities. I see the ice well and do the little things that help make my teammates and be successful.”

NZ: At the same time, what are some areas you’re looking to improve this year?

Daskas: “I want to improve my shooting ability. I feel like I don’t shoot the puck enough. I always try to look for the perfect set up and overthink it when the right play is to put a puck on net.”

NZ: Tell me about committing to Air Force; what about AF made it the place you wanted to play college hockey?

Daskas: “The biggest thing was their coaching staff. They are all awesome. Coach Serratore, Coach Berg, and Coach Doyle have a lot of experience and know the game very well, and I think they will be able to take my game to the next level and make me become more of a complete hockey player. Also going to a military academy will help me learn discipline and leadership, and I think will help me be successful later in life.”

NZ: Does anyone have a military background in your family?

Daskas: “No, I have no military background.”

NZ: What was your recruiting process like?

Daskas: “My recruiting process was good. It first started off with a few phone calls and them having some interest in me. Then one of their coaches came down to Lone Star, and after practice we went out to lunch and had a good conversation about Air Force and he told me everything I needed to know about the school. After that, a couple weeks later, they flew me out to Colorado Springs for a couple days and gave me a tour of the Academy. Then right after the visit they offered me to a spot on the team. It was a great experience that a will never forget.”

NZ: Your offensive totals have really kicked up this year, what do you attribute that to?

Daskas: “I think coming into my second season in the NAHL, I felt a lot more confident and more comfortable at Lone Star. I think the biggest thing though was the offseason I had. I knew that I was going into my last season of juniors, and I didn’t want to have any regrets and saying ‘I wish I did this,’ so I worked out and skated harder than I ever have before and did everything I could to prepare myself for this season.”

NZ: You have a lot of junior experience in the NAHL and CCHL, where do you feel like that experience will help you most as you move forward to college hockey?

Daskas: “I think juniors has helped me a lot with time management because we are on a pretty tight schedule and right now everything revolves around hockey, and you have to learn how to work yours days into it. Also, having lived away from home the past few years has made me become more mature and not rely on my parents when times get tough.”