Player Profile: Thomas Harley

Thomas Harley - Photo via CBS Sports

If you’re a Dallas Stars fan, you should get excited about Thomas Harley. Here’s what you need to know about the American-born, Canadian-bred NHL defenseman.

Thomas Harley was born in Syracuse, New York, on August 19, 2001, to Edmonton, Alberta-born parents Brian and Stephanie Harley. Brian is an orthopedic surgeon, while Stephanie is a pharmacist. Thomas shares an “amazing” bond with Brian, who was once his hockey coach, who wouldn’t miss a chance to watch him play in the Western Conference Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In May 2023, Harley told CBS News, “As kids, we all grew up chasing the Stanley Cup and wanting to win it, and we have a real good chance with this club in here … For [my dad] to come and watch and be a part of it is [awesome] and it’s something I’ll cherish forever.”

Not only does Thomas have Edmonton roots, but the future Stars defenseman was born into an athletic family and became a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. His father, Brian, and his siblings — Stuart, Greg, and Emilie — all played ice hockey. Brian played for the University of Alberta, Stuart played for the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Greg played for the Hearst Lumberjacks, and Emilie played for Robert Morris University before being drafted by the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF).

Harley is a dual citizen who represents Canada at the international level. In July 2019, Harley told The London Free Press: “My parents were Canadian and raised me that way … I grew up celebrating Canadian holidays like Boxing Day and Victoria Day. I cheered for Canada in the Olympics and World Juniors. We had a Canadian flag up in the window for Canada Day.”

“The neighbors thought we were crazy.”

Harley was drafted 18th overall in the first round by the Dallas Stars in the 2019 NHL Draft. Previously, Harley played for the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL from 2017 to 2020 and the Vaughan Kings of the GTMMHL in 2016-17.

Harley’s journey to the NHL was interesting, to say the least. Despite being a first-round draft pick in 2019, Harley was cut from the Dallas Stars’ roster ahead of the 2019-20 NHL season and returned to the Steelheads for the season. And, in 2020, Harley was named to the Stars’ taxi squad, stayed with them in the bubble in Edmonton, and added ten pounds of muscle by working out consistently.

Harley’s patience and persistence paid off. According to multiple sources, Harley was supposed to become a Dallas Stars regular ahead of the 2022-23 NHL season. But a Nils Lundkvist trade and an unimpressive training camp basically kept Harley with the Texas Stars of the AHL for the season.

Harley was limited to six regular-season games with the Dallas Stars in 2022-23 but remained with the Stars for the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where he recorded nine points (one goal and eight assists) in 19 postseason games. Since then, Harley has become an overtime hero while making the most of his extended chance. Harley has played his way onto the top defensive pair with fellow defenseman Miro Heiskanen.

In my opinion, Harley is an underrated blueliner (defenseman) for the Dallas Stars.

Ana Kieu

Ana Kieu is a journalist by trade. Her love for sports shows in her writing, editing, and podcasting work. She writes about the NHL for Inside The Rink.

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