The Everett Silvertips are reeling this week after parting company with overage forward Tyler Maxwell, the franchise’s career goal-scoring leader. Maxwell had requested a trade, and Everett management responded by sending the California kid home.
Fortunately for the Silvertips, there’s another Ty on the way in Big Valley sensation Tyrell Mappin, a rookie centre with the midget AAA Red Deer Optimist Rebels.
Mappin is just 15 and thereby ineligible to play in the Western Hockey League full-time this season, but the Silvertips are counting the days until they can make their first-round draft pick — seventh overall last spring — an Everett regular. Last week, he made his WHL debut in the Silvertips’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
His promotion came just a few days after Mappin helped Team Alberta win the Western Canadian Under-16 Challenge Cup in Moose Jaw, Sask.
“Ty has all the tools,” said Everett coach Mark Ferner, who wasn’t referring to the array of antique tools that are pegged for the new museum in Mappin’s hometown of Big Valley.
“The thing that we like about him most is he’s really competitive. It’s something that we want to get more of into our lineup in the future.
“Ty has the skill-sets and he has the smarts, but he’s also a very, very competitive kid. At our training camp, as good as he was on the ice, he was just as good off the ice. He’s a very polite young man and just seems like a very good kid. That’s a testament to his parents. So, we’re looking forward to getting him in our lineup.”
The Silvertips got a taste of Mappin’s potential when he walked into training camp and promptly scored four goals on the first day of scrimmages.
“He was great — he really was,” Ferner said.
“He’s out there obviously against his own age group, but against older guys, too, and every time he had the puck, something happened. He was going to those hard areas, and he’ll be a very good player for our organization in the future.”
The Silvertips likely would have added Mappin to their lineup for their Red Deer stop in late October, but he was otherwise occupied that weekend with Team Alberta.
Everett general manager Doug Soetaert, however, went to Moose Jaw and scouted Mappin and other prospects at the Western Canadian championship. Alberta had a perfect 4-0 record, including a 10-4 victory over Manitoba in the final.
Mappin was Alberta’s player of the game in a 5-1 win over Saskatchewan, as he scored a goal and an assist.
The able farm boy is used to overachieving. Consider that Mappin is the lone 15-year-old with the midget AAA Rebels, with whom he had three goals and seven points after nine games.
Red Deer coach Doug Quinn doesn’t expect Mappin to be in the Alberta Midget Hockey League for longer than this season.
“I’d probably be surprised if I had him for more than one year,” Quinn said. “This is my third year (coaching the midget AAA Rebels) and he’s certainly the most talented player that I’ve coached.
“I’ve been really happy with Ty. I always knew that he was very gifted offensively and certainly had the ability to handle the puck and score some goals, but I was really impressed at how well-schooled he was about the game — like, playing good defence. I’m glad that I have him.”
Mappin has moved to Red Deer for the hockey season, rather than commute from Big Valley as he did during his bantam days. He’s living with his brother, Kyle, and enrolled in Grade 10 at Hunting Hills High School.
Mappin’s other brother, Cass, is a familiar name in local hockey circles. Cass played in the WHL, mostly with the Rebels, and he’s now a freshman with the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
Cass, 20, has been a mentor for Ty, who is learning to adapt to playing against 16- and 17-year-old players in midget.
“It’s been fast-paced, so I’ve had to adjust,” Ty said. “From last year, it’s a big change in speed. All the guys, they’re a lot bigger and faster and stronger, so you can’t really muscle your way out there. I guess it’s a lot harder than bantam was. You can’t really control the puck as much as you would be able to, for me last year. You’ve just got to make quick plays and stuff.”
NOTEBOOK: The midget AAA Rebels are rocking with the big boys in the provincial league, sporting a 7-2-1 won-lost-tied record. They visit the league-leading St. Albert Sports Raiders (10-1-1) on Saturday night and host the last-place Grande Prairie Storm at 3 p.m. Sunday at Red Deer Arena.
St. Albert’s top scorer, Luke Mahura, was called up to the Prince Albert Raiders this week and made his WHL debut Wednesday. One of St. Albert’s offensive triggers is Trace Elson, a prospect of the WHL Rebels and younger brother of Turner Elson, the Rebels’ top goal-getter this season. Trace had 10 goals and 17 points after 10 games with St. Albert.
The midget AAA Rebels’ top scorer is Scott Feser, also a prospect of Red Deer’s WHL team. He had six goals and 11 points after nine games.
John MacNeil is the editor of the Stettler Independent. His column appears Fridays.