KLUB HOKEJA NA LEDUMEDVEŠČAKZAGREB
ICE HOCKEY CLUB
Tyler, I believe that most Canadian boys' dream is to become a hockey player. Was this the case with you?
Yes, when you are a kid, you only think about playing hockey as soon as you can and for as long as you can. The same was true for me, and one day I realized that I could make for living from hockey, so I started to practice more and more. I still want to play hockey for as long as possible.
How did it all start in your case?
My father first took me to the ice, and he put skates on my feet. He never played hockey, but he encouraged my brother and me to play. We were persistent, and we are where we are today.
You have a three years younger brother who is playing in Germany at the moment?
That's right. He is in Germany, playing his first professional season in the career. My professional career is also not very long, if we don't count years that I spent in junior leagues and at the college. I hope that one day we will play together in some of the teams.
You were born in a Canadian town called Burnaby. Where is it precisely?
Burnaby is in fact a suburb of Vancouver. I lived about 20 minutes away by car from the city centre. It's a beautiful city.
You studied at Fairbanks Alaska University. How did you end up there?
I played in one of the Canadian junior leagues and I got a chance to continue my career in NCAA. The coach who scouted me, Ferguson, was sincere to me from the very beginning. I chose Fairbanks and it was one of best decisions in my life so far. I have wonderful memories, and I met friends that I still am in contact today.
You have a university degree?
That's right, I graduated in Business Administration.
What happened after the college?
Last season I played in an AHL team, Sand Diego Gulls, and this season is my first outside North America.
So far you have played in 50 AHL games. What can you tell us about that league?
Very tough and strong league, just a step under NHL. The players are guys that, for whatever the reason, didn't end up in NHL, or guys who hope to end up in NHL. All of them are eager to prove themselves; they are fit, tough and they want to go to NHL.
Before you arrived to Zagreb, how much did you know about Medveščak and Croatia?
To be honest, I knew nothing, and my arrival happened very quickly, in two days only. I got here and, step by step, I get to know the situation and I try to get used to it.
How do you like it here? What do you think about the team, your teammates, supporters, the city...?
Regarding the players, I would say we are a mix of youth and experience. We get along well, and the atmosphere among us is great, just like our fans who provide us great support on each game. Zagreb is a very beautiful city, food is brilliant, people are very friendly, especially to ones who don't speak Croatian.
Did you meet any of your current teammates before?
Boivin. We know each other for ten years, and we trained together during summers. I met the rest of them here and we all get along well.
What are your first impressions about EBEL?
A different style of hockey, compared to where I played before. The play is more open. The league is unpredictable, with lots of goals, and anyone can beat anyone.
What are your expectations from this season?
We must continue to work hard. It's hard to estimate our strength, because so far we had many injured players. Some of them still didn't join the team. I hope we'll soon be complete. The first step is play-off, and then another step by another step, to the very top.
If you weren't a hockey player, what would you do?
I think I would have taken the advantage of my diploma and I would work with finances. I like to deal with numbers, and I would most certainly start a business.
Sushi. I fell in love with it in Vancouver, they make it really great there.
Depends on what I do, but generally music from 1980s and 1990s.
"Dumb and Dumber", but I also like action movies.
Do you have some leisure time hobbies?
I like to play lacrosse* and golf, and I also like water skiing. These are, with hockey, my favorite sports.
How are you doing with Croatian, did you learn any words?
Just like the most guys from the locker room, I learned how to say "bok" and "hvala".
Thank you, Tyler, and we wish you and the Bears great luck for the rest of the season!
* Lacrosse is a team sport played with a ball, between two teams with 10 players each, 9 in the field and 1 goalkeeper, or, for the women's lacrosse, 2 teams with 12 players, 11 in the field and 1 goalkeeper. The goal of the game is to shoot the heavy lacrosse rubber ball into the opponent's goal, using the lacrosse stick, strung with a netting on the top, that looks like a tennis racket of about 20 cm in diameter, and is used to carry, pas or shoot the ball...
Photo: MDVPRess/I.Šoban, Pixsell