Another local athlete is rising through the hockey ranks, as Sugar King Tyler McBay has committed to St. Lawrence University where he will play NCAA Division 1 hockey.
The 16-year-old Elmira resident began the 2016-17 season with the Elmira Sugar Kings. He was also selected in the eighth round of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection by the Saginaw Spirit, but has spent the season with the Elmira team.
He visited SLU in October as well as Pennsylvania State University, chatted with a few other schools and made his decision to commit to SLU last month.
St. Lawrence called him and invited him to visit the campus in Canton, New York, and attend a hockey game, which he did.
“From the moment I stepped on campus I was welcomed by all. It was a warm welcoming that I can’t forget. It was kind of like a welcoming that made you feel like you were part of the university already. It was a smaller school which I personally liked more because the atmosphere around campus felt more like family and the hockey games played at the Appleton Arena were so much fun to attend,” McBay said.
He plans to study kinesiology – or sports medicine, as it’s called in the U.S.
With Grade 12 still ahead of him in the fall he expects to play one more season with the Sugar Kings. In terms of the OHL, he says he’s leaving his options open, but he likes to tell people he’s heading to the NCAA.
“I experienced going to Saginaw for my OHL camp, but when I went to the NCAA school in St. Lawrence it was a way different experience. Just thinking about going to play hockey and get your four years of education paid for is something that I wanted and St. Lawrence can offer that,” McBay said.
SLU’s men’s hockey team has a 15-7-6 record so far this season.
Sporting green and gold this season the defenseman has recorded nine assists for the Kings. He spent the previous season with the Waterloo Wolves AAA Minor Midget team, earning six goals and 19 assists.
He says SLU’s scouts liked his skating and his ability to push the pace.
“They liked my game. They liked how I’m creative offensively and I can also be a defensive player as well,” McBay said.
Playing professional hockey has always been a dream for him and he hopes to pursue that.
He has a lot of people to thank for helping him get this far, including friends, family, coaches, the community of Elmira and last but not least, the Sugar Kings organization.
“It’s given me the opportunity to play in a league with 16, 17, 18 and 19 year olds and it’s helped me to develop as a hockey player playing in this league. The competition throughout the league is phenomenal and having the older guys talk to you and pushing you on and off the ice, I’ve benefited a lot from it.”