Sunday, December 18, 2011

11-12 ITG Enforcers, Tyson Nash and How He Impacted my Hockey Experience

I was scrolling through ITG's checklist for there 11-12 enforcers set coming out in January and I spotted a name on the checklist I hadn't thought of for sometime "Tyson Nash".

Tyson Nash mainly played in the NHL in the early 2000's, registering 374 games played, just 27 goals and 673 penalty minutes. Years from now, hardly anyone will remember that he played in the world's best league, although I'm sure I will tell my children about him someday.

Years ago, as a teen, I just finished a break out season in a low level rec league and thanks to my parents encouragement after talk from some coaches, they felt it was time for me to try out for the next level. Money was always tight growing up and my family could never afford to enroll me into a high level hockey program. So for the first seven years of my hockey experience, I toiled at the lowest level. I never really dominated at any point and I was never really a star player on the teams I played for. Not until my breakout season.

It was very intimidating to step up to a new level, I was not overly big, just 5"7 135 pounds at the time and I had never tested myself against better players before. I was not having the greatest tryout and it looked like I would be heading back down again, until an episode of TSN's "That's Hockey" changed everything. The show featured a rookie by the name of Tyson Nash, an average size hockey player, with average talents, making a large splash in the NHL thanks to his above average agitating skills. This was the first time in my life I stopped dreaming of being the next Mario or Cam Neely, I knew I would have to be like Tyson Nash if I ever wanted to move up the hockey ladder.

As luck would have it, I made the team due to one of the teams star players being removed from the team due to bad behavior. I inherited his over sized sweater with the number 89 on it (an obvious sign that they had not planned on me making the team). The other kids on the team had gotten to order there's jersey based on size preference and number, I was just happy to have a jersey.

As the season started, I grew more comfortable in my role as an agitator and the coaches took notice. They coaches me if I could keep it up for the rest of the season and I told them "no problem", they then handed me an "A", and asked me to sew it on my sweater. I will always remember what I was told next "that style of play you have, it will take you places", the coach told me.

The reaction to the ITG enforcers series as been a mixed bag of reviews. Due to the amount of head injuries lately, fighting in hockey has been a very sensitive subject. If anything I think that the ITG Enforcers set pays it's respects to the guys who had to pave there way to the NHL the hard way. So much emphasis is put on the skill guys in the NHL that players who grinded there way to the top don't get the same amount of credit.

I look forward to the release of enforcers; I know I will be picking up singles of Tyson Nash and finally I will be able to add a Link Gaetz autograph to my collection.

What singles from the series do you look forward to picking up?

1 comment:

  1. I have collections of Chris Nilan and Lyle Odelein, both featured in this set.
    So I'll have a few cards to chase.