In the May edition of CST magazine, I interviewed Tyson Nash, formerly of the St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes. He now serves as the Coyotes TV Color analyst for Fox Sports Arizona. It was a fun interview, Tyson is an engaging guy and was more than generous with his time. The angle for the interview was interesting, as I was less concerned with Tyson rattling off his thoughts about the sport and more concerned about the inner strength he needed to become a “grinder” – especially given that he’s such a nice guy off the ice and the fact that he came up through the minors as a scorer.

You can read that interview here.

As with any article, some of it ends up on the cutting room floor. Below are some of the segments I found interesting, but didn’t include in the article (or longer versions of what did appear in the article). Of particular interest is the journey young kids are making to try and get even the longest of shots at playing in the pros. Tyson’s opinion has changed over time.

“I often think about what the best direction is for young kids.  I guess for me I feel very fortunate that everything worked out, just because you give up your life you move away from home when you 15 16 years old. You give up your childhood for the game. Not that I gave it up, I still have a ton of fun obviously playing hockey, but you leave your family and you leave your friends. And that’s always a tough thing. And there’s no guarantee to really making the NHL or even the AHL or getting drafted, there just no guarantee. So many things have to fall into place. So I think kinda looking back now, and just the way the players are going into college, how college players are scouted now, how those college players are looked at, it’s not that different from major junior players.

When I played it seemed like the only kids making the NHL back then were coming from major junior. Major junior is always going to be the quickest route to the NHL, but I think that you always guarantee yourself if you go to college on a scholarship, you guarantee yourself an education. I think that’s first and foremost number one. You have to take care of number one- and that’s the player. You need to make sure that you get an education and have that advantage over a player that maybe played major junior and don’t always get an education. They might be chasing the dream til there 26, 27 years old, even 30 years old and maybe end up in Europe. That’s could be a difficult situation. Not necessarily a bad situation, but ultimately when the dream is over you want to end up having a good job and not be in a situation where you have to go back to school. I think the college route is probably the safest way considering the numbers in major junior hockey that are playing and the numbers that actually end up making it. It’s pretty alarming. Odds are not in your favor. You can take care of your education, that’s number one.”

Tyson also touched on the college hockey experience (Tyson missed out on it) and the Arizona State University Hockey Program. He has high hopes after their National Championship this year.

“Again, I think whether you go to junior or to college you have to make sure you get your education. That’s going to serve you well later in life. If you’re gonna get a good job, you need that education background.

I would love to see ASU get a division 1 program here. I have deep roots in the community here. I can’t imagine a young hockey player out there who wouldn’t want to come here to play for a top notch school. You seen what the program has done already at just the club level- it’s incredible. You get these guys a great facility and you’re gonna attract the best players in the world to come here and be a part of ASU. It’s quite the campus already. I would love to see that happen.

I just think college… it’s a great experience from what I’ve heard. How kids were looked on at their schools- heroes. They could do no wrong. They get an education and memories to last a lifetime.”

My thanks again to the Coyotes and to Tyson Nash.