We had the privilege of interviewing Tylor Michel during the week, and we’re releasing the interview today. We hope you enjoy it, because we sure as hell did. Just a little note from me before we start. He’s a pretty nice guy, from Sudbury, Ontario. He’s played everywhere from Canada, to USA, to Sweden, to where he is now in England. If you want to learn more about him, check out his profile here: http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=19722 or you can follow him on Twitter: @Tmich16 . Also, the questions in bold is us. You can follow me on Twitter: @HkyBlogger or “like” our Facebook page here:http://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog . What would be even better, would be to share with your friends. Ok. I’ve stalled you enough. Here is the feature presentation:
So first off, would you mind introducing yourself? Maybe a little known fact of something?
Growing up in Canada my dream was to play in the NHL like many kids aspire to do. I was always one of the better players on my team but once I was 14 years old I was much smaller than most players. Although I didn’t play like a small player, I faced a lot of doubts from OHL scouts. I was told by a few teams that they would draft me. I waited by the phone all day for a call from an OHL GM, but the phone never rang. That was one of the toughest days I’d experience up till then. I made a Jr. team as a 16 year old and focused my career on getting a hockey scholarship. Being completely honest I never thought for one second that I would play professional. I didn’t get a chance to play in the NHL but I’m proud of the fact I’ve played professional hockey for 5 years and still going.
As you know, in Canada, hockey is super important. In England it’s not the most important. So what’s the difference? Do you get noticed?
The difference is that in the UK hockey isn’t the number one sport and we don’t get a ton of press on sports channels. You would be surprised how many people love the game. Some fans in the UK support their team like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve seen fans get tattoos of their teams logo.
You played at Wayne State and turned pro. So what was the difference between NCAA and playing pro?
College hockey is very demanding and it’s difficult to manage the busy schedule. College coaches have a super short leash on their players. There a lot more rules so to speak at the college level. Little example of college vs pro. Senior year at Wayne state we were having a pre game skate and it was early in the morning and my body was beat up and sore. I decided not to go full out and fatigue the body more. My assistant coach ripped me a new one for going through the motions. He said that would never fly at the pro level. Fast forward to me getting called up to the ECHL. My first pre game skate I had never seen so many guys joking around and definitely not working hard. Some guys need to get a good sweat on and others just need to loosen up a bit. At the pro level it’s on the individual to bring their best during the game.
So you played in Sweden last year. So what was that like? Compared with Cardiff and Sheffield, what’s that like?
I really enjoyed my year in Sweden. I was playing in northern Sweden (UMEA) and I’m from northern Ontario so it felt a lot like home with all the trees and snow once winter comes around. Hockey is the number one sport in Sweden so it also had that in common with Canada. Sweden feels a little more laid back compared to Cardiff and Sheffield. In Sweden a lot of people use a bike to get around and I haven’t seen that in the UK. In the UK people love going to the pub after work for a social drink or two. I will say that people from both countries are very passionate about the sports teams they follow.
What do you miss from being away from home?
Although I’m used to being a way from home since I’ve been doing it since the age of 16, I do miss seeing my friends and family. I got married last summer and I know my wife misses her family and friends a lot so it makes it tough because I know she’s sacrificing a ton for me to continue living my dream.
Every hockey team goes through it’s own shenanigans, and I assume the Steelers are no different. What’s the funniest thing gone on while you’re a player at Sheffield?
Too bad you didn’t ask me this question after our Christmas gag gift exchange because some of the guys get pretty creative with their gifts. A lot of the shenanigans are the result of the boys going out and having one too many pints. I can’t pin point any particular moment or story without throwing someone under the bus but I will tell you that we’re always having a good laugh and a lot of time its at someone’s expense. Almost all hockey players have thick skin and can take a solid joke or one liner.
What has been your highlight of your career?
There has been a couple moments in my career that I’ve seen my dad shed a tear of joy from my personal achievements. Having never seen my old man cry before really opened up my eyes to how proud he was of me. Receiving an athletic scholarship and graduating is probably one of my career highlights. I’ve played with a lot of guys that don’t have any education and I’m so grateful I was able to get a scholarship and give me a chance to further my playing career.
What has been your lowlight of your career?
My second year in college stands out as a lowlight in my career. I broke my ankle that year and also battled limited ice time which was demoralizing considering the success I had in my freshman year having finished 2nd in scoring as a rookie in our conference. There was times when I would call home and tell my parents I need to transfer schools because I felt like I wasn’t getting any opportunity to be successful.
How did you persevere from that?
I feel like my dad instilled in me a never quit attitude and when times get tough just find a way to work that much harder. Show your tenacity and dedication and you will gain the respect of your coaches and teammates and get that much needed confidence back. Playing with confidence is one of the most important things you should have. Although I made that phone call to my parents telling them I should transfer, I know I was just blowing off some smoke and knew I just had to keep battling the best I could.
So do you have any advice for any aspiring hockey players?
As I stated before I was super small in teenage years but I never let that hinder my game. Work as hard as you can on and off the ice and keep your ears open and eyes open to what your coaches are trying to teach you. Pride yourself on being a good person and teammate and have fun.
To end off on a different note, how do you spend your off-seasons?
Off-seasons I spend working out and working a part time job. Its nice to be around my friends and family but grinding out some extra income while working your ass off in the gym isn’t the best part of being a hockey player. Would be nice to workout and play golf all summer but unfortunately I’m not employed by an NHL team.
Thank you for your time.