Tyson Zimmer’s path to the Western Hockey League isn’t going like anything he had expected.
After he was drafted sixth overall by Brandon in the 2019 WHL U-15 Draft, Zimmer took part in his first main camp with Brandon last year. The 16-year-old also played in a preseason game against the Winnipeg ICE.
He followed that up by scoring 15 times and adding 22 assists in 36 games with Okanagan Hockey Academy U-18 Prep team. He also scored twice more and had two assists in two playoff games.
When last season’s playoffs were interrupted due to the novel coronavirus, Zimmer set his focus on preparing for Wheat Kings’ training camp with a goal of making the team as a 16-year-old. The WHL season was ultimately delayed and it is now set to begin on January 8.
So instead of heading back out to British Columbia, the young star remained close to home as he joined the Waywayseecappo Wolverines of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
“I didn’t picture this. Under the circumstances, I’m really happy where I am right now. Just getting the chance to play hockey means everything,” said Zimmer. “To play in a skilled league on a great team, it’s amazing.”
Zimmer was quickly promoted to the first line and it didn’t take him long to score his first junior goal. After the team split their first four games against Dauphin, they took on the Swan Valley Stampeders in a four-game set and it took Zimmer just 14:33 in the first game.
He took a beautiful pass from Jaymes Knee and followed that up with finding the back of the net for his first career junior hockey goal.
“We had a 2-on-1 and their defender bit towards Jaymes and he gave me a saucer pass and I put it far side past the goalie,” offered Zimmer. “It was an extremely special moment. I honestly blacked out for a moment.”
Since that goal, Zimmer just continues to show how lethal he can be offensively. He now has four goals in the team’s 10 games and he has eight total points. That includes his first-ever three-game point streak which he is currently on. He had two goals and one assist this past weekend when the team swept Neepawa.
“I’m getting more chemistry with the guys I’m playing with,” said Zimmer. “Our hard work during the week is paying off on the weekends, that’s for sure.”
The Wolverines are on a roll as of late. The team has won four straight games and they lead the Northwest Division with a 7-3 record. The team has given up just 10 goals over the last four games. Offensively, they have racked up 20.
“It’s great showing up to the rink. Even when we just won two straight against Swan Valley, everyone was pretty pumped up,” Zimmer said. “We’re having a ton of fun right now and it’s always enjoyable going to the rink when you’re winning.”
Moving forward, the WHL has said training camps are slated to open right after the Christmas break ahead of January 8. Brandon will play only East Division opponents which include the Winnipeg ICE, Saskatoon Blades, Swift Current Broncos, Regina Pats, Moose Jaw Warriors, and the Prince Albert Raiders.
Tyson will be on the ice at training camp aiming to make the team he grew up watching. He grew up less than two hours away from Westoba Place. For now, however, it’s all Waywayseecappo for the young man as the Wolverines chase a championship.