Alum Tyler Love currently plays for Robert Morris University in the Atlantic Hockey League. He played his juniors with the Corpus Christi IceRays, where he was team captain during his final year.
We caught up to chat about his time in the Pens Elite program and how he has adjusted to playing at the college level.
Photo Credit - Ryan Rodriguez
The adjustment was big coming from being out of school in the NAHL to jumping right into Division 1 college. Everyone is extremely talented and skilled in college, and there is very little room for error. Also, the systematic side of the game is very prominent which requires you to always be focused and engaged during practice.
Pens Elite helped me develop tremendously as a player and as a person. When you play for PPE you get to experience playing against the best competition across North America which helps make the jump from AAA to juniors much easier. Also, the practices and skills sessions all the teams go through are so helpful. Being able to learn how to make quick reads and play in tight areas really helps prepare you for the next level. PPE also teaches you how to be a good person in your community by helping out with the little pens, try hockey for free day, or whatever it may be.
To be patient and trust the process. I know that sounds cliche, but if you want to get to the next level it takes total commitment on and off the ice. The PPE organization provides those resources to help make goals realities. Also, everyone's path is different. For example, I didn't start playing juniors until I was 18 years old, so it's not a big deal if you aren't playing juniors or committed at 16. Don't get down on yourself always keep working to get better no matter what.
My favorite memory was playing for a National Championship in Pittsburgh. Getting to play in front of family and friends is very special, and since we travel to play the best competition around it was nice for them to be able to come out and watch our team compete.
Santeri Hartikainenn, because we played junior hockey together where we created a really close friendship. This year starting college mid season he helped me a lot by showing me how to balance my daily schedule with classes and practice.
Typically I get up around 6:30 AM to make some breakfast and head to class from 8-10. Then after class we have meetings and practice. Usually after practice I like to stay on later to get some extra skill work in with our Defense coach. Then I get lunch at the cafeteria, and start some of my homework. From 6-9 I head to study hall to have a quiet place to prepare for exams and do more schoolwork. Finally, after study hall I head home, eat dinner, and try to get to bed early.
Chicken Parmesan and pasta, we eat it before every game and it has become a ritual.
The American Bank Center in Corpus Christi Texas. Our team would get thousands of fans every night, the facilities were amazing, and the ice surface was modeled just as NHL rinks were.
George's Pond in Shreveport Louisiana. The rink was old and the ice/boards were not great. The fans in that rink too were very hard to play in front of, constantly yelling and taunting players.