Tomas Hertl meets Justin Bieber, cherishes family


San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl checked a lot of boxes during NHL All-Star weekend in Toronto.
He took his oldest son skating on the ice surface at Scotiabank Arena, hit the scoresheet for Team McDavid in both games of the 3-on-3 tournament, and got his picture taken with pop star Justin Bieber, four years after he playfully wore his mask during his first all-star weekend appearance.
Split the $1 million team prize like last time?
Well, Hertl couldn’t do it all.
Hertl and Team McDavid advanced to the final game of the 3-on-3 tournament on Saturday but ran into Team Matthews, filled with players from the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, and lost 7-4 to wrap up the weekend.
“We scored a couple, maybe not enough, but we still had a very good time,” Hertl said. “All of the teams and all the guys had so much fun, and I’ll always remember this moment.”
Hertl, perhaps playing at less than 100 percent health, assisted on a goal by Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner in the first semifinal, which turned into a 4-3 come-from-behind shootout win over Team MacKinnon. Team captain Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers scored with six seconds left to send the game into a shootout, where he and David Pastrnak both scored to help their team earn a trip to the final.
The final was tied 3-3 at halftime, but Team Matthews, led by Maple Leafs center and San Ramon native Auston Matthews, scored four times in the second 10-minute half to earn the win.
Hertl, who missed the last two games the Sharks played before the break with a lower-body injury, scored Team McDavid’s lone second-half goal.
The tournament itself was played at a faster pace than in years past.
“I got a pretty good sweat on, which I didn’t expect,” Hertl said. “The first couple of shifts, it was up and down. Nobody was talking on the bench because everybody was tired and I was like, ‘It’s actually going to be fast.’ I think he’s good because it makes it more fun to watch the games.”
Matthews, who only spent a few weeks of his infancy in the East Bay before he and his family moved to Arizona, was named the All-Star Game’s MVP, becoming the first Leafs player to earn that honor. He had two goals and two assists in the two games.
At the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis, Hertl, part of the Pacific Division team, had some fun during the skills competition. In the goalie save streak event, he donned a Bieber mask before he took a shot on St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington.
Earlier that year, Binnington had challenged Bieber on social media, saying if the pop singer could score on him once in 10 shootout attempts, he would dye his hair platinum blonde. Bieber accepted the challenge, suggesting instead that the loser donates money to the winner’s favorite charity. The event, though, never took place.
Hertl may not have been able to see too well out of the mask, and his shot attempt — where he tried to go forehand to backhand — resulted in an easy stop for Binnington, who later won the event with a save streak of 10.
The Pacific Division team won the tournament and the accompanying $1 million,
Before Saturday’s event, Hertl and several other NHL all-stars got a chance to take a picture with Bieber, the celebrity captain for Team Matthews.
“He got guys lined up on the red line, so he was just taking pictures,” Hertl said of Bieber. “I think he enjoyed being on the ice because he’s a little bit into hockey. So it was a quick picture. Another great memory.”
Hertl said his parents were able to make the trip from the Czech Republic to Toronto, marking their first time in Canada.
“They really enjoyed it,” Hertl said. “It was fun with the kids, especially with the older one because (Friday) I skated with him. I had him in the locker room. For the skills (competition), he was running around.
“So that’s probably the best memories I will have, with the family. Especially for my parents, they put a lot of stuff into hockey, so it’s nice to give them something back and they can enjoy some moments, like All-Star. So I think everything worked out and we’ll remember this all-star game.”
Hertl was excited to hear Friday that the NHL had reached an agreement with the IIHF and the NHL Players’ Association to allow players to participate in the Winter Olympics in 2026 and 2030.
Hertl. 30, was selected to play for his home country in 2014 but was unable because of an injury. In 2022, when the Games were in China, the NHL pulled out of participating as a rash of positive COVID-19 cases forced the league to reschedule games during what would have been the Olympic break.
“It’s something special in our everybody wants to go be under the five circles,” Hertl said. “Back home in the Czech Republic, it’s so big to represent your country. Everybody’s watching it, everybody loves hockey, so, hopefully, I will have the chance and everything works out.”


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