A priority for Tychonick is to work on staying positive when things aren’t going well on the ice.(PHOTO BY GARRETT JAMES)
THE JR. A leagues in western Canada have spoiled us lately. Two years ago, the BCHL counted Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro and Dennis Cholowski as NHL first-rounders, while Alberta produced the fourth overall selection last year in Cale Makar.
While Jonny Tychonick may not go as high as his predecessors, the Penticton Vees defenseman does bring a lot of potential and confidence to the draft this summer. “He’s an NHL skater,” said one scout. “Highly competitive, wants to win and has a good skill set. He can play fast and he can play aggressive.”
The Vees have been the jewel of the BCHL for years now, pumping out NCAA and NHL talent (such as Fabbro and Jost) under the stewardship of coach-GM Fred Harbinson. So what have the Vees helped Tychonick with? “I’d say everything,” he said. “From who I am as a person to who I am as a player. The biggest thing was the adversity I faced as a 16-year-old. It helped build me for my second year, and every day I’m learning to be more of a professional. Fred runs an excellent program, and from the owners on down, they expect you to be a professional and they treat you that way.”
(PHOTO BY GARRETT JAMES)
The adversity he refers to came from being far from home (he’s from Calgary) and being the youngest player on the team last season. It was hard to create bonds since he was still in high school and had homework to do when everyone else on the team could just hang out. Plus, he was playing against opponents who were as much as four years older. “It was a big step,” he said. “But if I didn’t do that last year, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
Tychonick – pronounced tie-kon-ick – is committed to the University of North Dakota (see sidebar), where he likes the program’s knack for developing NHLers. Scouts see a confident kid who tries to make an impact every shift – to a fault, on occasion. He could stand to dial it back a bit, and the coaches at UND can help with that.
In the meantime, Tychonick is keeping his eyes on the prize by focusing on every aspect of his development. “Lots of players forget about the mental side of the game,” he said. “I feel it’s a huge part. Getting down on yourself after a mistake…I’m learning how to cope with it and bounce back. Just looking at the cup half full instead of half empty.” [THN] ■