It’s been nearly five months since Tucker Tynan’s scary episode in the Niagara IceDogs’ goal crease and the 17-year-old, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is chomping at the bit to get back out there.
Tynan, who was among the OHL’s top rookie netminders before suffering a skate laceration that cut deep into his right leg on December 7th, has undergone a pair surgeries along with hours of rehab in the form of weekly physical therapy sessions. The highly athletic puckstopper is back up on his feet, walking without assistance as he tries to rebuild lost muscle.
Tynan was a first half difference-maker for the Dogs, posting an 11-8-3-1 record along with a 3.80 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 23 games. He faced a lot of rubber too, seeing an average of over 36 shots per appearance.
“I tried to get up but it wasn’t working. And then…”
The hockey world stopped while Tucker Tynan laid in his crease. I spoke to him and his mom Ruth about that night and the days, weeks, and months since: https://t.co/zu2v56jG2U
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) April 20, 2020
The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler thoroughly documented Tynan’s story last week. The piece offers a glimpse into the goaltender’s background and family life, detailing the tremendous support he’s received from his mother Ruth, who raised Tucker and his older brother Jason on her own following the passing of his father Christopher when Tucker was just eight months old.
Despite his NHL Draft season being derailed, Tynan has tried his best to take a positive approach to the recovery process, remembering that he still has an opportunity to return to Niagara and make his mark once again.
“At this point, I’m just seeing how it goes as the time goes,” Tynan told Wheeler. “I’m definitely optimistic. At home, I’m trying to get into goalie moves and positions that I would be in and it’s getting there, definitely sooner than I would even think.
“It’s definitely tough,” he added. “I feel like I was having a really good season and then it just got halted. But it is what it is. There’s not much I can do except look forward. I’ve just got to do my best from there. It changed my entire life. But I don’t feel any grief or depression. It’s really just optimism. I’m just trying to see how I can get to the next step forward.”
The IceDogs, for their part, have shown confidence in Tynan’s recovery, opting not to select a goaltender in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection earlier this month.
IceDogs show confidence in Tucker Tynan’s full recovery by not drafting a goaltender https://t.co/Xm8Yere275
— The St. Catharines Standard (@StCatStandard) April 5, 2020
“The reports we’ve been getting for Tynan are very, very positive,” IceDogs general manager Joey Burke told the St. Catharines Standard’s Bernd Franke. “Obviously we have Josh Rosenzweig coming up in our system that we’re very high on.
“As of now, we’re very comfortable with our goaltending depth, and we believe that Tucker is going to make a great recovery.”
Tynan made a point of thanking his billets, the Garrett family, as well as the IceDogs organization, that rallied together to hold a blood drive in Tucker’s honour in late January. The event brought 65 donors to the clinic, 18 of which were new visitors, and resulted in 51 units of blood being donated.
“It has been crazy, the support from everywhere,” he told Wheeler. “It was just crazy. It was really good to see. It made a difference.”