Tomas Hertl introduced himself to much of the hockey world back in October, where in his third NHL game he scored four goals against the New York Rangers and sent Marty Biron into the broadcast booth.
Hertl further endeared himself to us while he was going through rehab for a knee injury that cost him almost three months of the season. While working out in a local pool, he made some friends who helped remind him that "fun must be always :-))"
The latest tale in Hertl's life involves his continuing education about the culture on this side of the pond, specifically that of the restaurant/arcade chain Dave & Buster's, with help from roommate Matt Nieto.
From the upper deck at SAP Center, you'd never guess that Hertl and Nieto are barely out of their teens from the way they skate and shoot and hit. But make no mistake. Up close, they are fresh-faced lads. They room together on the road. Hertl has learned that Nieto loves California culture. Nieto has learned that Hertl likes animated films.
In fact, during a road trip to Anaheim earlier this month, those elements all combined. Nieto introduced Hertl to a 20-something's idea of dining heaven -- the Dave & Buster's chain that features large-screen televisions and arcade games. They played a few of them and then watched sports on TV while eating. Hertl was captivated.
"He didn't know you can play the games and get prizes, so he went back by himself," Nieto said. "Next time I came back to the hotel room, he had three of those stuffed characters from 'Despicable Me' on his bed.' He was like a big kid."
According to Ann Frazier, who hipped us to the story, this is what Nieto discovered when he returned to their room that night:
When Pierre McGuire tells NHL players to "go have fun out there" before each game, Hertl is the one who really takes him up on the request.
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