By Scott Tracey, Fashion Lighting Player Spotlight – Tyler Bertuzzi
Several years ago, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky caused a bit of a stir when he showed up at the University of Guelph, where his son Ty was participating in a hockey camp.
Ty was easy enough to pick out, as he was the only player on the ice who did not have his last name on the back of his sweater.
Another Ty understands this well.
Third-year Storm winger Tyler Bertuzzi’s young career has been played largely in the shadow of his famous uncle, NHL star Todd Bertuzzi.
The 18-year-old Our Lady of Lourdes student shrugs off the inevitable comparisons.
“Overall I just try to be my own player,” Tyler says. “I have to stick to my own game and hopefully people don’t compare me too much to my uncle.”
Indeed they are very different players. While the elder Bertuzzi has a better scoring touch — with 761 points in 1,116 NHL games — his nephew is a grittier player with a reputation as an outstanding agitator.
Not that Tyler doesn’t find the scoring sheet. Through his first 16 games of this season he had five goals and 16 assists for 21 points and is sixth on the team in scoring.
Obviously his scrappy play is turning heads. The Detroit Red Wings surprised many when they selected him in the second round, 58th overall, in this past summer’s draft.
With that hurdle cleared, Bertuzzi is looking ahead to the next one.
“You always want to get better every year and obviously it’s a bit of a confidence boost to get drafted,” he says. “The next step is to get signed so I’m working hard to make sure that happens.”
‘Working hard’ is not a novel idea for the youngster.
“Every team he’s been on he’s always been the hardest-working kid out there,” says Tyler’s dad, Adrian Gedye. “He’s always been incredibly self-motivated. He’ll always be the last kid off the ice at any practice.”
Gedye says his son has never relied on his famous name.
“He’s always merited his spot on the team by being a leader … and working so hard for everything.”
Of course, that hard work is a year-round pursuit.
Gedye, a former national team triathlete who competed in Olympic swimming trials, trains his son and other elite-level hockey players during the summer in their hometown Sudbury.
“He obviously takes hockey very, very seriously,” Gedye says.
Tyler said he is entirely focused on hockey and does not have a ‘Plan B’ for after his playing days.
“I actually haven’t thought about that yet,” he says.
Gedye, who works as a player agent, suggested his son might also take that path once he hangs up his skates.
“I know he wants to remain involved in the sport as long as possible,” Gedye says, “but I don’t think he’s thought much beyond his playing days to be honest.”
And while he shies away from comparisons to his famous uncle, Bertuzzi admits it’s nice to have such a resource available.
“I talk to him a lot and he gives me really good advice,” Tyler says. “He’s already been through all this so it’s nice to be able to get his thoughts.”
Scott Tracey is a Guelph-based writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @scottjtracey