It is no secret that the Nashville Predators have enjoyed drafting their fair share of college teammates over the last few years.
Whether it be Dante Fabbro, Patrick Harper and David Farrance from Boston University, Jimmy Vesey and Tyler Moy from Harvard, or Tomas Vomacka and Jachym Kondelik from UConn, Nashville perhaps sees the added benefit of having teammates develop together outside of the organization.
However, none of those teammates share quite the bond that Vomacka and Kondelik do.
The two became familiar with one another seven years ago while playing against each other in the Czech U16 and U18 leagues, on the Czech U16 and U17 International junior teams, on the Czech U18 World Junior Championship team and in the USHL.
However, their stories differ a little on how the friendship was forged.
“I don’t think he liked me at first because he never could score on me, but we just kind of started talking on the national team and then we played against each other in the USHL and became very close,” Vomacka stated.
“We played together on the national team and we played against each other individually,” Kondelik added. “He didn’t like me much because I scored a lot on him and I wasn’t his friend to start, but now we’re friends.”
Best friends off the ice, it was Vomacka who initially convinced Kondelik to join him at UConn long before they realized they would be teammates in Nashville.
“It’s such a funny situation that happened to us,” Vomacka said. “I basically made him come to UConn. I was like, ‘hey dude, you have to come here I don’t want to be here by myself.’ Then I was flying somewhere on a plane and over WiFi I was watching the draft and to see his name picked by Nashville, I’m so glad he’s here. He’s one of my best friends and he’s such a good kid. I’m fortunate to have him here.”
“There were a lot of factors, but he for sure was one of the big ones,” Kondelik added. “To have such a close friend like him there, and we’re roommates and together every day, he’s been like a brother. I spend every day with him and we’re rooming together here, so he was a big factor.”
Watching their friendship come full circle, the duo has become a force with the Huskies. Vomacka was named to the Pro Ambitions All-Rookie team, finishing with a 5-2-0 record, a 1.71 goals-against average and .945 save percent in the final month of the season – including an upset win over No. 2-ranked UMass.
Kondelik tallied four goals and 26 points and was UConn’s second-leading scorer as a freshman. The two also won the Thomas J. Jacquard Award, given each year to the team’s top freshman player. So, it seemed only fitting that they share the award.
“I’ve known him for so long, I’d probably say like seven years,” Vomacka said. “He came to UConn and now we’re even closer and he’s one of my best friends.”