Summit grad Tyler Lantz placed into whirlwind
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit High School graduate Tyler Lantz has been a whirlwind of activity lately, but that’s normal for a hockey goalie.
But when Lantz learned he had been selected to the roster of the Tulsa, Okla., Bazooka Blues junior hockey team Aug. 17 after a rigorous three-day tryout, his life became more about suitcases than skate saves.
On that Sunday afternoon, he had seven days to pack for a 7-month-long junior hockey program that would allow him to travel across the country.
The Bazooka Blues play in the Continental Hockey League, which consists of 13 teams in three divisions, spread from Tulsa to Boston. The goal of the program is to prepare junior hockey players for the competitive ranks of college hockey.
Lantz will be attending St. Olaf College next year.
“The tryouts were pretty tough,” Lance said last week, as he frantically packed his belongings. “There were six to eight hours of tryouts, and by Saturday night I was feeling pretty confident. “I’ve been working out all summer getting ready for it.”
Lantz’s blood is steeped in hockey. His grandfather was selected to play on the 1940 Olympic team before those games were cancelled by World War II. His 11-year-old brother is a goalie in the Pee-Wee division of Summit Hockey League.
Lantz has been playing hockey since he was 6 years old, and has been concentrating on goalie since he was 10. Now 18, Lantz stands 6 feet tall and weighs 175 pounds.
Lantz started playing hockey in the Denver area.
At the age of 9, his family moved to Edwards, where he continued playing little league. One year later, he moved to Summit County, where he began concentrating on goaltending.
Much of his inspiration has come from watching Patrick Roy, who recently retired from an 18-year career with the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche.
Mark O’Reilly was Lantz’s first hockey coach when Lantz moved to Summit County from Edwards.
“(The program) is amateur hockey and sanctioned by USA Hockey, the national governing body,” O’Reilly said.
His new coach, Tom Karalis, said the team has two goalies, and the hottest will start in the playoffs.
“The Blues chose Tyler because we saw the potential as a first rate goalie,” Karalis said. “Goaltending is the cornerstone of any great team, in any sport. I anticipate Tyler to have an excellent season, providing the Blues with the statistics that will help us win games, while improving his skills to be ready to play for St. Olaf next year.”
The Blues’ season begins Oct. 10 against the Flint Icelanders from Michigan. Preseason practice began Monday. According to Lantz, these practices might give him the opportunity to earn a starting position.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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