Dreams, we all have them. Some may aspire to own a business someday while other’s hope of playing a professional sport. Although our goals in life may differ, one thing is always sure. Accomplishing one’s dream does not come easy and requires a great deal of hard work. For Flyers prospect, Wyatte Wylie, it’s all about one day playing in the National Hockey League, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make his dream a reality.
Wylie’s admiration for the ice started at the age of seven, inline skating with his older brother Wade. Wyatte’s mother, Shelley Wylie, recalls that moment, “We stumbled across an ice rink at that time and the boys wanted to give it a try, we did and they fell in love instantly”. Growing up in the state of Washington was challenging for someone looking to get into competitive hockey. Washington has never been known as a hockey-crazed state. However, both Wyatte and Wade managed to play at the highest level provided close to where they lived.
At the age of 16, Wade moved away from home to California to play higher level hockey. This path led him to play in other locations such as Minnesota and Calgary. Shelley explained that this was tough for Wyatte, having his hockey partner move so far away. Still, Wyatte remained motivated and continued to pursue his dream in Washington.
Wyatte played for the Everett Jr. Silvertips at 14-years-old. This turned out to be a fantastic decision because it placed Wylie in a position to be seen by Silvertips General Manager, Garry Davidson. Shelley explained to me that Davidson really took a liking to her son’s game. “Garry really liked Wyatte’s playing style (physical/offensive) and began to pursue him.” Everett eventually selected Wylie in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.
Though it almost seemed destined for Wyatte Wylie to play for the Silvertips, it did not happen immediately. Wylie moved to Dallas in 2015 to play for the Dallas Stars Elite. It’s never easy for a child to move away from home but both Wyatte and his parents knew it was the right move to make.
“Washington players who were good at hockey were often overlooked by elite teams just because they were from Washington, it wasn’t a hockey state. Those players had to move away from home in order to showcase themselves and further their development.”
Leaving his family and going to Dallas accomplished exactly what Wylie had hoped. He was getting noticed. In 2015, the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL selected Wylie 99th-overall. Getting drafted by Des Moines was a great accomplishment, however, the young defenseman knew it was time to head home and play for the Silvertips. To that point, working towards his dream involved sacrifices. Living in a non-traditional hockey market meant a lot of traveling to get noticed. Now he was given the opportunity to play for the team that his family once had season tickets for. With the decision to play for Everett, Wylie became the first ever local child to go through the youth program, make the Silvertip roster, and get draft into the NHL.
Though his dedication to playing professional hockey can be seen through the countless miles traveled, it’s not the only area it’s apparent. Wylie is a right-handed defenseman and is most comfortable when he is treated as such. However, when he started playing for Everett, the team was short on left-handed defensemen. This led the Silvertip head coach, Kevin Constantine, to asking his rookie blueliner to play on the left side. Wylie did what was asked of him and played on the left side. Playing on your off hand is challenging but Wylie took it head-on and became a more versatile player for it. Now, he is treated more like a right-handed defenseman but still will play on either side of the blue-line. In actuality, his counted on to play both on the right and left side quite often.
Now a member of the Philadelphia Flyers farm system, Wyatte Wylie is beginning to receive more of the recognition he deserves. Wylie is an all-purpose blueliner with a great deal of offensive upside. Being selected in the fifth round in 2018, Wylie has the potential to become a real “steal” in the draft. Though his life-long dream of playing in the National Hockey League is not yet a reality, Wylie gets closer to making it so every time he laces his skates.
I wanted to give a special thanks to Wyatte’s mother, Shelley Wylie, for her help with making this article possible. Your willingness to share your son’s story is incredibly appreciated.
Photo by Christopher Mast/Everett Silvertips