The first Guelph Storm fan I ran into after the Ontario Hockey League draft asked the question: “Will we hear the name ‘Bertuuuuuuuzzzziii’ on the PA system at Storm games again?”
If young Tyler Bertuzzi has his way the answer will be yes.
Tyler was selected by the Storm in the fourth round of the recent OHL draft and is the nephew of the Storm’s first ever draft pick, National Hockey League star Todd Bertuzzi.
“I called (uncle Todd) the day I was drafted but then my phone died so I had to wait until the next day (to talk to him),” said the younger Bertuzzi.
“He said congrats and told me that this was just another step forward and there was still a lot of hard work that had to be done to get to where I want to be. He said he’d help me do what I need to do to get to the OHL.”
In stature, the two Bertuzzis are quite different. Todd was always a brute at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds on draft day.
Tyler started this season with the Sudbury minor midgets at 5-foot- 6 and 135 pounds. Storm fans will be happy to know that at the team’s recent fitness camp for drafted players, Bertuzzi measured in at a legitimate 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds.
Although smaller than his famous uncle, he plays the game with the same reckless abandoned.
“As a parent I was always afraid of an injury or concussion,” said his father Adrian Gedye, who was married to Todd’s sister.
“He plays fearlessly and isn’t afraid to meet anyone head on, regardless of their size. At the beginning of the season, scouts would almost laugh at the skinny guy flying around and hitting everyone in site.”
“I’m a grinder who loves to work hard in the corners and cycle the puck down low and take the body and be physical,” says Tyler, although he is quick to add that “I also like to set up a lot of goals too.”
Last season in midget, Bertuzzi potted 20 goals and added 45 assists in 32 games. He also proved his grit with 58 minutes in penalties.
Storm general manager Mike Kelly has said that there might be room for as many as four underage players next season and Bertuzzi has his mind set on being one of them.
“I’ve already started to work on the plan they gave on fitness day,” said the Sudbury native.
“It was great to see the rink and the city when we were there. It is definitely going to be exciting hitting, scoring or fighting, doing anything I can to get the crowd pumped.”
Want to feel old? The younger Bertuzzi was born in 1995, the final year of Todd Bertuzzi’s time in Guelph, a year when he scored 54 goals for the Storm.
“People are always asking me if we’re related,” said Tyler.
“And I’ve been chirped on the ice more than a few times too. Now I hope to head down to his place to train with him for awhile this summer.” I’m sure fans will want to see the latest member of the Bertuzzi family take to the ice in Storm colours. Fans in the early ’90s watched Todd grow from a boy into man and now perhaps they’ll get a chance to see another Bertuzzi march into manhood.
And yes, there is a certain public address announcer warming up his ‘pipes’ in anticipation of another Bertuzzi goal.