CATCHING UP WITH...DANA TYRELLWed Dec 22
Written By: Watts, Jesse
Dana Tyrell became a star in the Western Hockey League during his four-year career with the Prince George Cougars.
Now, the 21-year-old from Airdrie, AB, is skating alongside some of hockey’s biggest stars in his first season in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Selected by the Cougars in the fifth round, 97th overall, in the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft, Tyrell played 240 regular-season games over four seasons with the team, accumulating 81 goals and 179 points. In 2007, Tyrell helped the Cougars reach the WHL Western Conference Championship series, picking up a goal and seven points in 15 games.
Boasting great speed and skating ability, and a no-quit work ethic, Tyrell’s strong two-way play and his ability to chip in offense led the Tampa Bay Lightning to select him in the second-round pick, 47th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
After spending the 2009-10 season with the Lightning’s AHL team, the Norfolk Admirals, Tyrell made the jump to the big club out of training camp in 2010 and hasn’t looked back. Having earned consistent ice time on the Bolts’ energy line, Tyrell appears to now be a permanent fixture among Tampa Bay’s forward group.
CATCHING UP WITH…DANA TYRELL
On making his NHL debut on October 9th…
“It was awesome. I had a pretty good training camp and figured I had a good chance of being there on opening night. The team called my parents and flew them down to see the game, so I knew I was going to play. Stepping out on the ice, I was pretty nervous. It was something I’ve waited a long time for, and something I plan on doing for a long time, too.”
On adjusting to the NHL level of play…
“The confidence, for sure, is a huge thing at this level. Up here, it’s a very skilled game. The game is very fast and guys play at a high pace. Luckily, I have the opportunity to play with older guys and some superstar players, so I learn a lot from them. Over time, you get used to how the game is played here, and you start to get the confidence that you can play at this level.”
On playing with superstars like Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos…
“I learn so much from those guys. They are great leaders on the ice and they help you out off the ice, too. Watching them, you learn a lot of skills and tricks. You learn how much preparation they put into every game, and how they handle themselves on and off the ice. You learn how they play in the offensive zone and how they create scoring chances. The biggest thing is learning when to keep things simple, because everything happens so fast.”
On playing in front of friends and family in Calgary versus the Flames…
“It was awesome. I had a lot of friends come to the game, and my parents were there, too. It was the first time I got to play in front of friends at the professional level. It was a great game, and I was pretty excited to be out there. It’s too bad we lost. But, it was a great experience for me.”
On keeping up with the Cougars and Brett Connolly…
“I keep up with how the team is doing, and I check the WHL Website and see what’s happening. I had a lot of good times playing in Prince George, and the Cougars played a big part in my life. I talk with Brett Connolly fairly regularly. He’s a Lightning prospect, so we keep in touch. Connolly is a very skilled player. We played together when he was 16, and we put up some good numbers together. I know he’s got a good future in the NHL ahead of him, and the Lightning organization recognizes that. He just needs to keep developing and keep working, and he’ll be here in the near future.”
On developing his game in the WHL…
“The WHL really does compliment the NHL in that it prepares you for the professional game. The WHL is a physical league, and the level of competition is very high. Learning the game in the WHL has certainly shaped the way I play now, and has helped me develop the style of game I play in Tampa Bay. The level of coaching in the WHL is excellent. I learned so much from my coaches in Prince George, and I know that has helped me in getting to where I am today.”
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