Know Your Bobcat – Tommy Malkmus
Throughout the months of August and September, BismarckBobcats.com will be taking a one-by-one look at the players on the Bobcats’ Training Camp Roster. Our final installment features Bobcat forward and former Bismarck High Demon Tommy Malkmus.
Name: Tommy Malkmus
Hometown: Bismarck, ND
Weight: 180 lbs.
2012-13 Team: El Paso Rhinos
2012-13 Stats: 38 GP, 19 G, 16 A, 35 PTS, 44 PIM, 3 PPG, 2 SHG, 3 GWG
Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad
Favorite Pro Sports Team: Dallas Stars
Highlight of 2012-13: “In our first game of our playoff series against the Boulder Bison, we went to overtime and I got the helper on the goal that won it in ‘OT.’”
The Long Way Home
After a disappointing showing at the Bismarck Bobcats’ 2012 main camp, former Bismarck High forward Tommy Malkmus had some soul searching to do.
“I didn’t get through to the all-star game at Main Camp for the Bobcats,” revealed Malkmus, who helped lead BHS to the West Region title in 2012, “and I needed to make a decision at that point if I was going to try and find a different junior team to try out for or if it was time to start college.”
The answer would reveal itself to Malkmus in the form of the El Paso Rhinos of the WSHL.
“Rhinos assistant coach Anthony Bohn had seen me play with BHS and also main camp and invited me down to play for El Paso,” explained Malkmus.
So the former Demon made the move 20 hours south to west Texas to begin his junior career.
Playing so far from home didn’t seem to affect Malkmus: in the first 17 games of the 2012-13 season the rookie stuffed the scoresheet with 11 goals and 13 assists for the Rhinos before injuries slowed him after Thanksgiving.
“I battled through some injuries and then had to work through the grind of the longer schedule,” indicated Malkmus. “Having only played 27 games my senior year, it was tough to adjust to a longer schedule.”
In all, he ended up submitting 35 points in 38 games with the Rhinos.
When the WSHL playoffs wrapped, Malkmus prepared to take another shot at the Cats’ main camp. The BHS alum started hot with two goals in the first game of the tryout at the VFW Sports Center and never looked back.
“I got that first goal in the second period of the very first game and it just gave me a ton of confidence,” noted Malkmus, “and I could just feel it, this was my time.”
By the time main camp wrapped up, Malkmus had picked up three goals, a fight and, most importantly, a spot on the Cats’ training camp roster.
“It was an incredibly satisfying feeling when the coaches told me I made the cut in main camp,” related the Bismarck native. “It’s fantastic to see all of the hard work on and off the ice pay off in such a real way.”
One asset that the Bobcat coaches picked up on with Tommy Malkmus at 2013 main camp is his team-first attitude.
“Tommy is willing to be reckless with his body to make something happen, whether it’s a big hit or blocked shot or anything,” lauded Bobcats assistant coach Garrett Roth. “He has those intangibles you’re always looking for in a player.”
Malkmus says that his experience over the last two seasons, spanning his time as a Demon and a Rhino, have helped spur that mentality.
“My last year at BHS, I was one of the only seniors on a really young team and Coach [Mike] Peluso relied on me to be a leader,” illustrated the first-year Bobcat, “and then in El Paso I was on the other side and got to learn from the veteran leaders. The biggest lesson I learned is that you need to lead by example.
“If you want the rest of the guys to play with energy and jump, you need to go out there and make energy plays yourself.”
His disposition has earned rave reviews through three weeks of training camp.
“Tommy is a great kid, a hard worker and awesome in the locker room,” credited Roth. “He’s the type of guy with that energy that other players can feed off of.”
As a graduate of Bismarck High, one might think Tommy Malkmus might have trouble fitting in on a team whose veterans are dominated by crosstown rival Century High—Aaron Nelson, Seth Blair and Dan Kovar all played for the Patriots—but the former Demon says that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Honestly all the vets have been great but the CHS guys have all really gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and personally support me,” hailed Malkmus, who played against all three former Patriots in 2009-10. “Blair, Nelson and Kovar have been there for me every step of the way, giving me great advice to help me make the jump into the NAHL.”
Having roots in Bismarck/Mandan gave Malkmus a bit of an edge out of the chute at training camp with Hell Week, as he’s been training for years with Bobcats director of fitness Mike Salwei at Healthways Gym.
“I wouldn’t say it made Hell Week easier—because it was one of the hardest weeks of my life—but I’d say that I was able to better mentally prepare for it, being so familiar with Mike and his staff at Healthways,” admitted Malkmus.
Even though he wasn’t a member of last season’s team, Malkmus is well aware of the Cats’ heartbreaking finish at the 2013 and even he internalized the black and gold’s near miss in north Texas in May.
“Being from Bismarck and seeing our team miss the national championship game on something like the third tiebreaker, I took it personally,” stated Malkmus, “so it’s been great to get in there with these guys—my teammates, my friends—and put in the offseason and training camp work to get this team on track to go back and finish what they started last year and bring that Robertson Cup back to the VFW Sports Center.”