Photo: USA NTDP
BY JACK LeGWIN
There aren’t many players from the state of North Carolina playing hockey at a high level. Tyler Weiss is one of the few, and he’s making a name for himself at the Team USA NTDP (National Team Development Program).
Coming from an area that is known for its basketball roots, Weiss recognizes that he’s not a part of the norm, but he did spend time in the sport that the state is known for.
“I grew up playing basketball too,” Weiss said. “I ended up playing hockey though. Everyone loves their basketball there. Hockey isn’t really a thing because it’s more of a northern game. Once I started playing in other places, it got more serious.”
Weiss, who is headed to Boston University next year to play for head coach David Quinn, says he’s really looking forward to the opportunity.
“I committed there when I was a sophomore,” Weiss said. “It was a dream of mine to play college hockey for Boston for sure. Coach Quinn has put a lot of guys into the NHL. He really knows his stuff. I feel like I can learn a lot from him and believe he can get the best out of his players. There has been a lot of big names that have come out of Boston like Jack Eichel, Clayton Keller and you just really try to follow in their footsteps.”
Paving the way for the next wave of youngsters to play hockey out of North Carolina, Weiss said that he wants to be a role model for that generation.
“There are a lot of kids that want to play hockey in the South,” Weiss said. “They want the opportunity that I’ve gotten and they come to me a lot and they ask how I’ve gotten here. There are kids with dreams down there and I think I can give them some hope.”
Growing up as a Hurricanes fan, Weiss recalled two guys that he looked up to when he was growing up.
“I liked watching Jeff Skinner a lot when he came into the league,” Weiss said. “Eric Staal as well when I’d go to games when I was a kid.”
As for the possibility of being drafted by his hometown team, Weiss says he wouldn’t be opposed to the opportunity.
“That would be unreal,” Weiss said with a laugh.” I could make up all of the lost time with my parents.”
Weiss has 25 points (8G-17A) up to this point in the season, and he feels like his preparation leading up to this point has helped him in being able adjust to the every day lifestyle of playing for Team USA
“The grind is tough of course,” Weiss said. “You’re away from your family and friends, but it’s awesome because you can make a new family here. Everyone up here knows that we aren’t from the area and they’ve done a great job of welcoming us here. It hasn’t been that challenging for me. I moved out when I was 14, which was hard at first, but this has been pretty easy.”
Weiss left off with a saying that goes well with the mindset of this year’s Team USA squad.
“We respect all, but fear none,” Weiss said. “That’s our motto. We play our all against everyone and we want to dominate.”