Kelowna Rocket and ex-Grand Forker using lessons learned from Winter Games

Before playing in front of big crowds with the WHL's Kelowna Rockets, left winger Brett Lyon played at the BC Winter Games.

Kelowna Rocket left winger Brett Lyon (No. 21) got his first taste of big crowd hockey at the 2006 BC Winter Games.

Kelowna Rocket left winger Brett Lyon (No. 21) got his first taste of big crowd hockey at the 2006 BC Winter Games.

A former Grand Forks resident has taken the lessons he learned at the B.C. Winter Games and used them in furthering his athletic career.

Brett Lyon, who was a 15-year-old at the time, was part of a hockey team that represented the Kootenays at the 2006 games in Greater Trail and has since parlayed that experience to his career in major junior hockey – he currently plays left wing for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League (WHL).

“I had a great time. It was a great team that they put together that year and it was a great event,” reminisces Lyon over the phone from Kelowna.

“It was out of Trail so we were the home team representing the Kootenays and it was a great experience. It was awesome, there were great fans and it was a great atmosphere.”

While Lyon has become accustomed to playing in front of larger crowds playing in the WHL, his time at the Winter Games was his first true taste of playing in a larger arena and there were plenty of things to take away from that.

“You play against all the best players in B.C. obviously so you get better that way,” Lyon said when asked about lessons learned from those Trail games.

“You realize that there are a lot of really good hockey players out there, so if you want to make it to that next level, you’re going to have to push a lot harder.”

With a lot of WHL draft eligible players at the games, Lyon said that he was mindful that there could be scouts in the crowd amongst the fans but he said he tried not to think about that.

Lyon estimated that he recorded six points in eight games during the 2006 Winter Games.

“You try not to think about that stuff. You obviously know they’re there – all the best kids in B.C. that are draft eligible to the WHL are all in the same area – so every scout comes out,” explained Lyon.

“You know they’re there but there’s so much going on when you’re on the ice that you don’t really have time to think about stuff like that.”

Unlike others, Lyon has taken the next step to major junior hockey, with stints with the Kamloops Blazers, Vancouver Giants, Moose Jaw Warriors and now Kelowna, and he currently sits third (as of Feb. 13) in Rockets’ scoring with 13 goals, 19 assists and 32 points.

He tops the team with a +/- rating of +12 and once again, is looking to take that next step.

“So far, I’m having a good season statistically and I’ve managed to keep my penalty minutes and kind of have that reputation in the league now, that I’ve earned for myself, that not too many people want to come around me when I’m out there,” said Lyon.

“I’m hoping that I can push for a pro contract at the end of this or an NHL tryout or something of that sort.”