Meet the Clan: Tyler Basham
SFU’s Well Travelled Man
Weight: 170 lbs
Birthday: June 10, 1993
Previous Team: Johnstown Tomahawks (NAHL)
Hometown: Surrey, BC
For many local players, the path most taken is to play in a junior league close to home. Here, the two closest leagues are the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) and the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) — the local Junior B and Junior A leagues.
Second year forward Tyler Basham, a native of Surrey, BC, initially took the route most travelled, playing 42 games with the Port Moody Black Panthers (now simply called the Panthers) of the PJHL in the 2010-11 season.
However, after a season near home, he was looking for something a little different.
“I was kind of looking for something new so I decided to move down to Texas,” says Basham.
Basham decided to go down to El Paso, Texas and play with the El Paso Rhinos of the Western States Hockey League, which spans as far east as Missouri, and has teams spread all across the west coast. It was quite a change of scenery.
“El Paso — it’s the desert. It’s right on the border of Mexico and I lived a mile away from the border, it’s a lot different from out here — it’s sunny everyday, no rain… ever. 300 days of sunshine down there.”
And the hockey was good. Over two seasons with Rhinos, he put up 44 goals in 83 games, and was over a point per game.
After two seasons though, he was looking for a higher level of hockey. The answer? The Johnstown Riverhawks of the North American Hockey League — an American equivalent to the BCHL.
108 km east of Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is rich with hickey history, having served as the filming location for Slap Shot. In climate, it was nearly as far from El Paso as you could get.
“I went from one end the spectrum to the other,” says Basham. “Compare [El Paso] to Johnstown where it’s your typical east coast weather. It’s freezing cold, it’s -20 degrees everyday, you have four or five feet of snow, you get the blizzards out there.”
Like El Paso, however, it was a great experience. In a town of just over 20,000 people, the Tomahawks were celebrities.
“They’re such big fans of hockey down there, and you’d just walk down the street and people would know who you were and they’d ask you for your autograph — they thought we were like professional players, like the Canucks in the street.”
“Honestly going there, I didn’t know what to expect,” he says. “Going there, I was kind of apprehensive, but living there, it grew on me. I liked it.”
After three years in the States, it was time to go back to school. For Basham, who had been out of school for three years, it was a daunting decision.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, I didn’t know where to go, I mean, I’ve been out of school for a couple of years so I didn’t know much about it,” he says. “I still wanted to continue on playing hockey.”
After some soul searching, after three years on the road, he decided he wanted to come back home.
“I had been away for three years from home and I was looking at my options, [and] I just decided that for me the best the best thing was to come back home. It just made more sense all around,” he explains.
With his father an SFU alumnus and a hockey program where could still play the game he loved, the choice became obvious.
“This was my first choice to come here and come back home.”
It’s been a bit of an adjustment for a Basham, who had three years where hockey was his only focus.
“I didn’t do any schooling when I was down in the States playing hockey, all I did was just focus on hockey and having fun with it. So coming back and getting the study habits back after they have been gone, it was just different, I had to change my lifestyle a little bit. I had to set time out to hit the books every once in awhile, not go do something fun.”
The adjustment seems to be a smooth one.
In his first year with the Clan, he put an impressive seven goals and 13 points. This year, he sees ice time on the top line and has already matched his last year’s point total in less than half of the games.
Off the ice, he’s looking to transfer into the computing science program, from the arts where he currently studies.
“I’m still trying to work that out — what I like and what I want to do — but I’ve always liked the maths and sciences, so I’m trying to go down that path,” he says. “[But] I’m not a huge fan of chemistry.”
With the Clan, he hopes to achieve a BCIHL championship (“I’ve never won [a championship] ever, so winning one would be a dream of mine”), but for now, he’s found home once again.
“It’s been really good. Coming back to school has been a little challenging after being out of it for a little bit, but getting those study habits back, it’s been pretty good. I seem to have found a balance.”
Jersey Number #19: “It was always my favourite number. I was always a huge fan of Joe Sakic and Markus Naslund. I love Naslund still and he always wore #19 so as a little kid, I was like, ‘I want to be like him’
Pre-game Ritual: “Definitely a pre-game nap. I always have to have a nap before the game, whether it’s a Thursday or a Friday or a Saturday, if I’m playing that night, I have to have a nap. I always usually tend to eat a big meal, usually a chicken-pasta meal — lots of chicken, not much pasta”
Favourite Movie: “Tough question… I always liked Top Gun. It’s an old movie but I always watched it since I was little and it was always one of my parents favourite movies — they always used to watch it”
Favourite Food: “Steak or prime rib… prime rib and lobster, can’t beat that”