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DALLAS – The Colorado Avalanche continued their skill-heavy draft approach when they took the underrated Tyler Weiss in the fourth round of the NHL Draft with the 109th overall selection.
Weiss played for the United States National Team Development Program last year and competed both in the DP and in the USHL. He was a bit overshadowed by the more high profile players on his team, limiting his opportunities in his draft year to really show what kind of player he truly is.
As a skilled playmaker, Weiss is a guy who likes to get his teammates involved and create offense. That much was obvious this past year, whether it was taking on international opponents on the DP, where he scored 31 points (12g, 19a) in 58 games, or in the USHL where he racked up 11 points (3g, 8a) in 22 games played.
Weiss the hockey player, however, comes second to Weiss the young man, who has struggled so much to even make it to his draft day.
“I came from the bottom,” Weiss explained. “We had struggles and issues with money. I had to move away when I was 14. It gives kids the hope that they can make it. You know, their dads don’t need to play in the NHL, they don’t need connections. My dad is a beer league ref, and they know that they can make it on their own if they just work hard and don’t let anybody stop them or get in their way.”
Despite those money issues, Weiss was here today with the family he loved so much who had given so much to help get him here.
“I’m here with my family,” Weiss began. “You know, they call me down, I’m just happy to be here with them. My brother is here, he sacrificed, he stopped playing hockey so that I could play hockey. You know that just made me feel really comfortable. It felt really great.”
The entire draft experience has lived up to the hype for Weiss, who said he did not care where he was taken.
“It’s been really, really good. It’s been a long journey, we’ve been through a lot of adversity. We’ve been working for this day for such a long time, and it finally paid off.”
That doesn’t mean the weekend was without nerves as players go undrafted every year. In fact, just 217 players in the entire world were scheduled to be drafted this year. Until they hear their name called, the stress can be very real for these young men.
“I’m going to be honest, I was shaking,” Weiss told the media. “I’ve been working for this day all of my life. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and you know I just can’t believe it. It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Despite the nervy wait to be selected Weiss remained focus on what comes next for his career. He’s been selected now, which is great but is just the beginning.
“You know it’s been an unreal experience,” Weiss added. “You know, it’s been a great time, you’re supposed to enjoy it and just go with the flow and have fun. Not get too caught up in where you’re going to get picked or how late you’re going to get picked. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you get a ticket, then you prove it to them after.”
Weiss is joining an organization that fits his preferred playstyle as the Avalanche are bursting at the seams with skill players that he hopes to play with someday.
“I know they’ve got a lot of skill,” Weiss said. “You know, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog. They have a great culture there. I watched them a lot, and I couldn’t be happier for them to have picked me.”
Weiss will be in the area if any locals would like to see him play as he’s currently committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He will play the local DU Pioneers regularly as he is joining the NCHC.
“You know just to have fun and have the opportunity to play college hockey in the NCHC against great teams with a great group of guys, and the coaching staff too.,” Weiss said of his excitement about the next level. “I feel that they’re going to push me to my full potential.”
Should Weiss reach that full potential, the Avalanche could have one of the steals of the draft on their hands.