A version of the following story appeared in the 2016-17 first edition of AVALANCHE, the official game magazine of the Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club. For more feature stories, purchase a copy of the magazine during Avs home games at Pepsi Center. All proceeds from game-magazine sales support youth hockey associations in Colorado.
Colorado Avalanche prospect Tyson Jost wouldn't be the hockey player or type of person he is today if it weren't for his family.
Raised by a single mother and with his grandparents always close by, Jost is quick to recognize the sacrifices they made to help him get drafted by the Avs in the first round this past summer.
"Family is something that is so huge about me," Jost said after being picked by Colorado. "My mom was a single mom and my grandparents were a huge part of my life. It took a lot of hard work to get to this point, and I'm so relieved that this dream came true. There is going to be so much more work after this. My ultimate goal is to win a Stanley Cup. Not just one, let's say a few. I'm going to keep working to do that."
Tyson's mother, Laura, is his rock. She was always there for him. Even when he was more than 500 miles away from his home in St. Albert, Alberta, to play hockey in British Columbia, they would talk daily.
"My mom is just so huge in my life," Jost said. "She is a single mom, and she sacrificed so much for my sister and I. I owe so much to her. I will never be able to repay her because she did so much for me."
Things weren't always easy growing up under Laura's watch.
"She was hard on me. She was tough, but it was a good tough. I enjoyed it," Jost said. "She always pushed me to be better. So did my grandpa. I think I learned a lot from them. My mom worked for everything she had in life, and that is something that really got passed on to me. That is something I try and implement on the ice, too. I have to work for what I want. I worked so hard to get to this point, and I'm going to keep doing that until I reach my ultimate goal, which is getting to the NHL and winning some Stanley Cups."
With the family being so tightknit, the toughest part for the Josts was when Tyson, then 13 years old, got an opportunity to play and better his hockey skills at the Pursuit of Excellence school in Kelowna, British Columbia. To make the transition easier on young Tyson, his grandparents moved with him.
The move paid off. After his time in Kelowna, Jost went on to play two seasons with the Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League, where he won a league championship, an MVP award after totaling 104 points (42 goals and 62 assists) and was named the Canadian junior player of the year.
He also captained Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF Under-18 World Championship and recorded 15 points (six goals and nine assists) in seven games to set a new Canadian scoring record at the tournament. The previous mark of 14 was set by Connor McDavid in 2013.
As draft day quickly approached, Jost once again leaned on his mother.
"There were a lot of ups and downs, and you don't know where you're going to go, and it can be stressful at times," Jost said. "You're only 18 years old, and you're going through this change in your life that's going to determine your future, I guess you could say. She's always there for me. I always had a person I could talk to or go to whenever I needed. She was there step-by-step, and that really helped me through this process."
On June 24 in Buffalo, New York, Jost was selected 10th overall by the Avalanche and had the people closest to him there in support. It was an emotional moment for the Jost family when Colorado executive vice president/general manager Joe Sakic announced Tyson's name.
"I'm going to remember it for a long time," Jost said of hearing his name called. "My mom is so special to me…and to share that moment with her up in the stands there is something I'll never forget. Just giving her a hug, it was pretty special. It was kind of my thanks back to her just for all the hard work and sacrifice she gave me and my sister."
Laura Jost had a few last words for Tyson as they embraced in a hug before her son walked up to the stage to be greeted by the Avs staff and enter the NHL.
"I heard, 'I'm so proud of you and I love you.' All those good things that a mom would say," Tyson recalled.
His grandfather, Jim, got extra emotional and started crying before the young forward could even get out of his seat in the stands of First Niagara Center.
"He was always looking after me while my mom was running around and doing other things," Jost said of his grandpa. "We created a pretty good relationship, and I guess you could say he is like my father figure. It was special to have my family in the crowd there. I knew he was going to cry a little bit just because he is an emotional guy. He has a lot of pride in me."
His journey to the NHL is just beginning.
Jost is playing at the University of North Dakota this season and is looking to keep building his skills so that one day he can put on the Avalanche sweater and skate on NHL ice.
"It's just another chapter. There is going to be so much hard work after this," Jost said on draft night. "I want to win a Stanley Cup. I really want to achieve that goal. I'm going to help the Colorado Avalanche do that."
His family will be right there with him along the way.