“We’re beasts!” was the 8 AM war cry coming from the Minnesota State training center in late July, and the words rang out with a German accent. Who else but Parker Tuomie? The Mavericks senior wingman from Bremerhaven, Germany, was all pumped up, volume on high as usual.
“I’ve always been a vocal guy, the voice in the room,” Tuomie said, having freshened up after the Mavericks morning workout.
He is the alpha to his beta countryman Marc Michaelis, two of the WCHA’s dominant offensive players. They are senior linemates who combined for more than two points per game for powerhouse Minnesota State.
Following the Mavericks’ exit from this spring’s NCAAs, the two Germans returned the Fatherland to train with the Deutsch national team prior to the World Championships. While Michaelis continued on to Slovakia for the tournament, Tuomie went home, though not because of lack of production. Throughout training camp and four exhibition games, Parker did exactly what fans in Mankato have come to expect—he inked up the scoresheet.
“He scored a goal, I think he had four points in four games or something like that,” his kamerad Michaelis said. “I’m pretty sure if he didn’t have to go back for his school stuff, he’d have a big, big chance to be on that World Championship squad, too.”
Poised on the precipice of measuring himself against the best players in the world, Tuomie instead got on a flight back to Mankato.
“I did not want to take any chance away from me not being able to play,” Tuomie, who needed additional classwork to shore up his eligibility, said. “Once those 10 days were up, I knew that I had a ticket back to Mankato, and I was ready to come back and finish up my school, which I did. Since then I’ve pretty much been here all summer.”
Although seven time zones away in Mankato, Tuomie followed his classmate throughout his World Championship journey via the internet and a flexible data plan. “Me and him always talked after the games; yeah, I watched them all,” Tuomie, who witnessed Michaelis evolve into a top-six forward for Germany throughout the tournament, said. “We made sure to stay in touch throughout those weeks.”
Tuomie’s ties to German hockey run deep: not only has he represented his country in the World Juniors, but his father is a head coach in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) for Augsburg. Despite hearing his country’s clarion call to battle for the national team this spring, Tuomie demonstrated intense loyalty to the Mavericks by returning to Mankato. His connection to Minnesota State pulsed even when he was overseas training with Germany. Tuomie simply couldn’t shake the pain from the Mavericks’ NCAA collapse against Providence.
“Even when I went to the World Championships, the Providence game was one of the only things on my mind,” Tuomie said. “It was good for me to get away because I was eating myself up a little bit after that time.”
Four months removed since his bitter exit from the Providence regional, Tuomie now appears cleansed, having used the NCAA nightmare for motivation. “Now it’s just fuel all summer,” he said. “For our senior class, there’s no more second chances. And we want to make the most of it.”
Parker and his mates in purple and gold are now setting alarm clocks for their 7:15 AM workouts, and then they head a mile up the hill to All-Seasons Arena. There they help the coaching staff run the Mavericks youth hockey camp.
Unlike Michaelis, Tuomie won’t wear a “C” on his jersey this season, but he remains a vital cog in the Mavs leadership core. Based on his high-energy temperament, he should have an “L” for LOUD stitched above his heart.
“If you look at our team, 80 percent have been captains or assistant captains wherever they played before,” Tuomie said. “Our locker room is filled with leadership guys, and I do my part. We have a lot of freshmen coming in; it’s good that we have a big leadership group so we can take them under our wing and make sure they contribute.”
Tuomie’s remarkable college career will be over at the end of this campaign, and the Mavericks have won more games over his four years than any other NCAA team. Come springtime, he will weigh a slew of exciting options: NHL free agent, IIHF World Championships, or perhaps Germany’s DEL. Could he foresee himself playing for his father in Bavaria? Tuomie broke into a reflexive laugh. “I don’t think he could pay me!”
The interview concluded, and Tuomie returned to the precious present, bolting up the hill to the arena and inserting himself into a camp kickball game. For the next eight months, the heart and mind of this German mensch will be anchored in Mankato, intensely devoted to helping Minnesota State reach new hockey heights.