Tyler Dyck carving out his own niche

By Jeff Bromley
When Tyler Dyck first arrived in Cranbrook for his first full season in a Kootenay ICE uniform, along with him came expectations. Having been taken in the third round (39th overall) in the 1998 Bantam draft, Dyck had all the tools for success in the WHL. At the age of sixteen, the Calgary, Alberta native had the size at 6’3″, 202 lbs., the scoring touch and according to former teammate Kyle Wanvig, the strength to survive the rigors and style of play in the WHL.

Somewhere along the way Tyler Dyck’s role and immediate future with the Kootenay ICE changed rather dramatically.

In 1999-2000, his first full season in the WHL things didn’t exactly go according to plan. As a sixteen-year-old rookie it was expected that Tyler was going to get scant amounts of ice-time and rightly so, considering the depth the ICE had at center in what would be a championship year. Dyck did get into forty games in his rookie year but saw less ice-time than expected and the points weren’t exactly coming at a torrid pace, finishing the season with a goal and an assist.

At the beginning of the 2000-01 campaign, there were questions as to what role Tyler Dyck would assume with a year of seasoning under his belt. Suffice to say, that role probably wasn’t what most fans would’ve expected. Enter Tyler Dyck, banger, crasher and when the need arises, enforcer. “Last year was a bit of a transition year coming from Bantam,” said Dyck. “This year he’s (Coach Ryan McGill) got me on the third line banging and crashing. Me, along with Sinc and Hammy (line mates Colin Sinclair and Richard Hamula), we just dump it in and try to forecheck like crazy, being physical and the chances are starting to happen.”

The change from being the number one player on his Bantam club two years ago to fourth line rookie center last season and currently a third line bang and crash, physical presence is not lost on the soft-spoken converted winger. “Yeah, in Bantam I had a bigger role but it’s obvious when you come into a league where there’s sixteen to twenty year olds, there’s going to be a few years where you’re banging and crashing – before you get back to your normal role,” said Dyck. The role Dyck speaks of is of course his desire to include the scoring aspect back into the physical game he now plays.

Another aspect of Tyler Dyck’s game that has sprung into action is of the fisticuff variety. Before the ICE signed tough-guy Joe Degenstein, the enforcer role was relegated to ‘team toughness’ instead one designated player. Dyck took it upon himself to answer any call to arms and faired admirably. “It’s just part of the game,” said Dyck. “Even Comrie was defending himself if he needed too. Somebody’s got to step up and do it to try to raise the team or if somebody takes a bad hit. Whenever it’s needed, somebody has to step up.”

Dyck’s improved play hasn’t gone unnoticed by ICE Head Coach Ryan McGill. Dyck, last season’s Kootenay ICE scholastic award winner has seen an increase in ice time and noticed his name on the ‘healthy scratch’ list, a lot less often. “He’s playing physical, sticking his nose in. When he does have the puck, he doesn’t just throw it away, he tries to use his speed, strength and size to his advantage. He’s played well because he’s kept it simple…. Any time a big guy at 6’3″, 200lbs plays that way in our league you get some room. You get some opportunities,” said McGill “At the beginning of the year he had some ice time and then he lost a bit. Now he’s earned his back to getting more. The way Tyler will keep that ice time is if he continues playing like that. We’re not concerned with goals or assists. We’re just concerned with the physical play and keeping it simple. If he does that he’ll be successful in this league.”

Ever year Tyler Dyck has improved in his play slowly if not steadily. Continuing in that direction, especially with this being his NHL Draft year will only improve his chances of success.