KEARNEY, NE -- Tyler Madden knows what it takes.
As a young boy, he watched his father John put in all the off-season work and the summer skates with other pros and forge the iron determination that led to becoming a two-time Stanley Cup champion.
Now, Tyler is a young man on the verge of being drafted into the NHL. He is ranked as the 39th North American Skater for the Draft, to be held the weekend of June 22-23 in Dallas.
“It’s an amazing feeling, obviously, to see your hard work over the past years pay off. But it’s not the finish line for me,” said Tyler.
Tyler was born in 1999 in Albany, N.Y., but lived most of his early years in New Jersey, where John helped the Devils win the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003. After starring for the Avon Old Farms prep school team in Connecticut, the former Bloomington Thunder drafted him third overall in the 2017 United States Hockey League Entry Draft, before becoming the Central Illinois Flying Aces.
After playing 18 games (and scoring 14 points) for the Flying Aces, he was traded to the Tri-City Storm, with whom he would finish the season. He scored 20 points in his 32 games with the Kearney, Neb.-based Storm.
“The trade didn’t affect me at all. I was just excited to start new with Tri-City, who was first in the league at the time,” said Madden. “The experience was great. Coach [Anthony] Noreen was amazing. I loved playing for him. He’s a great coach and one I will remember. The organization was great. We as players were treated top notch and I have to believe that it’s one of the best places to play.”
Madden’s personal highlight of the season had to be his election to the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, hosted by the Storm. There, he scored two of Team East’s two goals en route to a 4-3 win over Team West. That earned him Team East MVP honors, and earned Tri-City its third straight MVP, after Wade Allison won it in 2016 and Paul Washe earned it last year.
“I was fortunate to have great linemates in that game, Ben Copeland [Waterloo] and Alex Steeves [Dubuque]. We played well together and they where a factor in how I played and did so well,” added Madden.
The Storm’s season came to an end after two games at the hands of the eventual Clark Cup champion Fargo Force.
“It was a great season and a good experience overall. Obviously, it’s hard to have your season come to an end so soon in the playoffs, but it was a good year with great guys,” said Madden.
“I think, as a player, I learned how to play more of a complete game this year and I think it was good to play against some older and stronger kids to get me ready for college,” said Madden.
He will head off to Northeastern University next season, one of 11 USHL players to commit to the Hockey East school in the heart of Boston, Mass.
“I think I can bring my offensive ability and ability to make plays and create chances, along with my defensive play and hockey IQ,” said Madden. “[This summer], I will be continuing my training in Cape Cod with my skating coach Paul Vincent and my trainer Mike Donahue.”
As Madden is considered among the top 104 draft-eligible players overall, he has been invited to the Combine in Buffalo, which will run May 27 through June 2.
“I am training here at home in Florida, just staying in shape and trying to work on specific Combine tests with my trainer,” Madden added.
He will be happy to be selected by any NHL team, but growing up, it should come as no surprise which team was his favorite – the one that helped bring the Stanley Cup into his home, twice.
“I grew up a little in New Jersey, and then moved around from there, with my Dad switching teams,” added Tyler. “Growing up, my favorite team was the Devils.”