Meet the Clan: Brandon Tidy
Weight: 194 lbs
Nickname: “just Tidy”
Birthday: June 1, 1993
Previous Team: Keyano College Huskies (CCAA)
Hometown: Campbell River, BC
Year: Third (Transfer)
Watching Brandon Tidy play in his first year with SFU Men’s Hockey, it’s surprising to hear him say he was cut twice from his first attempt at playing Junior A hockey.
He’s a solid two-way player whose defensive game is strong enough that he can suit up on the blue line when the team is short a defenceman or two, and though he self-deprecatingly says that he tries to “be good on the offensive side,” he’s been a key contributor on offence with eight goals and 16 points, tied for fifth in BCIHL goals scored.
“For teams to win, you need guys that can do anything,” says assistant coach Tom Spencer. “And Tidy’s that guy for us this year.
“He plays with energy, he’s physical and he understands the game.”
“I work hard and try and get the job done — do whatever it takes,” Tidy explains of his attitude to the game.
It’s that attitude, however, he needed to persevere when the odds didn’t look so good.
At the age of 18, Tidy had already played a year of junior hockey with the Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL), a Junior B team that played in his initial hometown. He was the team captain and put up 24 points in 35 games played.
However, his first year out of school, he was looking for a higher level of play. The next level? The British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). And what better option than the Powell River Kings?
“I always wanted to play for Powell River, it’s the closest Junior A team to Campbell River, so I just emailed the coach and asked if I could come and I just showed up,” he explains.
However, after the exhibition preseason games were done, he was cut. He already had a spot on the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), another Junior A league, but he had longed to be closer to home, and took a gamble playing Junior B closer to home, trying to get a shot with Powell River.
Initially, it was a gamble that didn’t appear to pay off.
“I went back to Junior B and I was pretty discouraged, I applied to UBC for the following year to just go to school, I thought I was done with hockey,” he says.
But then things started going his way.
“And then after two games of junior they called me up, I played one game and then I scored, and then I got cut again. Then I played two more Junior B games, and then my first game back I scored again. They signed me right after the game.
“It took me a month and a half to make the team,” Tidy explains.
It was a good lesson in perseverance for the 6’2” forward from Campbell River. His friend Sean Maguire, a goalie who played for Powell River, and now a fourth round pick for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and is the starter at Boston University, an NCAA Div I school, gave him some encouragement.
“It was tough, but I think part of it was my good friend Sean Maguire, he’s a goalie, he helped me through it and told me, ‘You’re going to get signed, just keep working hard,’” Tidy reflects.
And he took influence from his family, as his family moved from Campbell River to Fort McMurray when Tidy was 15, when the mill shut down where his father worked.
“My dad’s been a really hard worker at his job, and he landed on his feet when the mill shut down in Campbell River, getting a job in Fort Mac, so I believe if you just keep working hard, things will go right for you.”
In Powell River, the team was first in their division and made the BCHL finals, but fell just short. The year after, he was traded to Saskatchewan to play with the Humboldt Broncos, who were the reigning SJHL champions, but fell to a similar fate as the Powell River Kings, losing in the SJHL finals.
In his 20 year-old year, he was intending to return to Saskatchewan, when he got an intriguing offer from Keyano College, in his new home of Fort McMurray.
“Then Keyano offered me a really good scholarship if I didn’t go back and played for them, so I took it, and spent a couple of years there.”
Initially, he was interested in power engineering, working his way up in the oil fields. But oil prices dropped and that no longer seemed a viable option. His two years of college were up, so he leaned on an old friend for advice.
“I was actually doing power engineering in Fort McMurray, and when oil dropped, power engineering wasn’t a viable career at the time — they were firing them, not hiring them — so I switched to business and I knew Graham [Smerek] from Fort McMurray, and he was telling me how good the SFU business program was, and I did some research on it, and found out it was really good, and I decided to come here.”
Smerek and Tidy were teammates on the same midget team in Fort McMurray, where Smerek was captain.
“He took me up, showed me around the school, introduced me to everyone. It makes the transition a million times easier,” Tidy explains.
With first year business classes under his belt from Keyano, Tidy’s looking to get into the business program here.
Though some might be weary of the travel Tidy’s had to do throughout his life and career — with stints on the Island, Fort McMurray, in Saskatchewan, and finally here at SFU — he loves it.
“Now I can go anywhere in BC, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, I’d always have a place to stay. I know people all over the place which is cool. And contacts you make, even when we went to Boston, I had three buddies come and see me playing over there. It’s just nice knowing guys everywhere and making friends all over the place.”
And his new home? Refer to his feelings on travel.
“I just love how the school looks, I think it’s a really nice looking school,” says Tidy. “We have such a good group of guys, everyone’s so nice on our team, everyone’s just so inviting.”
Favourite Movie? ”I’m going to have to say Gladiator with Russell Crowe — he’s my favourite actor.”
Favourite Food? “Tough. Probably tacos. I love tacos.”
Superstitions? The only one is I put on all the left equipment before my right equipment — like I put my left skate then right skate, left shinpad then right shinpad
Why #53? “When I was going to Keyano, the coach told me I could have any number I wanted, so I gave him 19, and he said I couldn’t have it, then I gave him 21, and he said that’s already been taken, so then I gave him five other numbers and they all have been taken, so I just thought of a random number and I love Casey Cizikas on the Islanders, so I said, 53.”
Favourite NHL Team? Vancouver Canucks
Other Sports? “I used to compete in waterskiing. I was fourth in BC at slalom at one point.”