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Photo credit: Garrett James Photography
For Cranbrook Bucks forward Tyson Dyck, education has always been a priority.
For most people who share that sentiment, it is not something they just realize out of the blue. It typically comes directly from their parents. Dyck’s situation is no different, but the focus on education seemed almost inevitable given what his parents do for a living.
“My dad is a high-school teacher and my mom works at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford,” said Dyck. “They definitely let me know at a young age that education is important after hockey because hockey is not going to be around forever.”
While having a fallback plan for a post-hockey life is important, the two can go hand in hand.
After playing his youth hockey in his hometown of Abbotsford, B.C., Dyck had to make a choice as to where he would play for the next step in his career. After weighing his options, he ended up choosing the Burnaby Winter Club (BWC) and academics played a big role in that decision.
“A big reason why I chose BWC was the way they incorporate the school aspect along with the hockey,” said Dyck. “The way that they had the schedule setup with the courses, it worked out really well. They also do a phenomenal job of developing guys and the coaches are awesome as well.”
One coach in particular stands out to Dyck as someone who played an important role in his development on and off the ice. Leland Mack was his coach for his U15 year at BWC in 2018-19. Dyck led the team in scoring with 54 points in 30 games that season and credits his coach for guiding him through that phase in his career.
“He believed in me and gave me lots of opportunities,” said Dyck. “He was a really good development coach, so he helped pave the way through that Bantam year where I was deciding whether or not to play in the BCHL or to choose another option. He helped guide me in that regard.”
Dyck played one more year at BWC, leading the U18 Prep team in scoring with 40 points in 36 games. Then it was time to make the jump to the BC Hockey League.
Academics again played a key part in the decision-making process as Dyck wanted to pursue the college hockey route and earn himself a scholarship to an NCAA Division I program.
He ended up joining the Cranbrook Bucks as a 16-year-old for their expansion season in 2020-21. He saw this as a perfect fit for his situation.
“It was a place that I thought I could come in and play right away,” said Dyck. “There were no veterans, no past years where there were top guys coming back. I felt there were a lot of open doors there.”
Dyck registered five points in six games for the Bucks during the pod season, but ended up having his campaign cut short due to a collarbone injury.
Despite the setback, the 17-year-old has returned better than ever in 2021-22. He leads the Bucks in scoring and is seventh overall in the BCHL with 34 points in 24 games. Because of the work he put in over the offseason, Dyck feels like he is physically back to where he needs to be to continue his development.
“It goes to show what a good summer can do,” he said. “I worked a lot off the ice on rehabbing, as well as on the ice with some coaches. It helped me build my confidence back up. That was big. Having another year with all the same games in that locker room and building some chemistry has helped as well. We’ve been able to have some success because of it.”
Even after his fantastic start to the year, Dyck has yet to accomplish one of his main goals since joining the BCHL – earning a scholarship to an NCAA Division I program. That announcement is likely coming soon though as he has proven himself to be one of the top players in the league at 17-years-old.
When it comes time to choose a school to play for in the next step of his career, the running theme of academics comes up again.
“I want a school that has a good balance of education, but I also want a school that can get me to the next level,” said Dyck. “As much as education is important, hockey is still the goal. I want to play for a team that can help me reach the NHL at some point in my career.”
Given his play this year and his immense potential as a hockey player, he likely has a long list of colleges vying for his services.
Having education as a priority in his life has gotten him this far, and it seems poised to carry him to highest level of collegiate hockey. Where it takes him after that is yet to be determined, but with the way he carries himself on and off the ice, his goal of playing professional hockey appears to be well within reach.