Hockey was all around Medicine Hat Tigers left wing Ryan Chyzowski growing up. His Father, Dave, was drafted second overall by the New York Islanders back in 1989. He ended up playing in 126 NHL games, piling up 31 points. The earliest memories that Ryan has are of his Dad playing hockey in Austria. Dave had a professional career that spanned 18 seasons.
“The only times that I can remember were of when he was over in Europe. That was when I started skating and watching hockey. Watching him and being around the dressing room a lot, is kind of what made me love the sport,” the younger Chyzowski said.
Dave was a star for the Kamloops Blazers in the late 1980’s, putting up 141 points in 138 games with the Blazers and winning a WHL title in 1990.
“He’s been a pretty big role model for me growing up. He’s been in my situations before and he’s been someone that I can go to whenever I run into a challenge. He gives me pretty good advice.”
Dave is not the only Chyzowski who has played with Kamloops. Ryan’s older brother Nick has already played in 309 games with the Blazers over five seasons.
“It’s always fun when we get to play each other. It’s not that big a of a team rivalry but it’s pretty cool getting to play in the same league as him.”
After he was drafted in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft by the Tigers, 18th overall in 2015, Chyzowski was called up to play in his full allotment of six games as a 15-year-old.
“That was good for me. Getting into the league and getting to know the league a bit really helped me out in my 16-year-old season.”
Last year he scored five times and added seven assists for 12 points, as a 16-year-old. He played a smaller role as the Central Division champion Tigers were loaded with older talent. Chyzowski used the opportunity to learn from those older players.
“With guys like Chad Butcher and Steven Owre…We were pretty highly touted team and I think a lot of those guys have really good hockey IQs and really know the game. It was good for me to play with them and see their determination off the ice too and their commitment to the game.”
After the Tigers were upset in the playoffs, Chyzowski had a specific area in his game he was ready to tackle in the off-season.
“I worked a lot on skating. I went to power skating classes and tried to get my foot speed up and my leg strength, That was kind of the big thing-to get faster and take my game to another level.”
Chyzowski has provided much more offense this year in an increased role. He has 13 goals and 15 assists so far in 39 games. His team has held the lead in the Cen
tral Division for most of the season, but that does not mean there has not been some challenges.
“I think it’s been up and down and we’ve had some rough patches. I think that is good though because to deal with some adversity can make you better. I think my line has really been clicking this year.”
Chyzowski was rated as a “C” prospect by NHL Central Scouting, but will have plenty of opportunities to wow the scouts as the season progresses and the playoffs approach. For a player who grew up around hockey, Chyzowski as the ability to achieve his goal and follow his Dad’s footsteps into the NHL.
(Thanks go out to Doug Wyrostok for conducting the interview)