A version of the following story appeared in the 2016-17 second 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.
Since a young age, the National Hockey League has always been considered a home to Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.
The Victoria, British Columbia, native comes from a family where being a professional hockey player isn't uncommon. Growing up alongside role models, including his father Len Barrie, Tyson was always surrounded by the hockey atmosphere. That experience helped drive him in hopes that one day he would follow in his father's footsteps and get a chance to play in the NHL.
Selected 64th overall in the third round of the 2009 draft by the Avalanche, Barrie is now in his fifth full season with the club. He signed a four-year contract at the start of the 2016-17 campaign, securing his spot on the team and in a place that he calls his second home.
ColoradoAvalanche.com talked with Tyson Barrie about growing up with an NHL father, his roots in hockey and his time in Denver.
True or false, NHL players used to shove you in a washing machine when you were younger?
"Yeah, it was a washing machine. Peter Worrell did that to me when my dad played in Florida."
What other good stories do you have of growing up and being the son of an NHL player?
"I mean I have tons. He coached me through minor hockey, the whole way up, so it was nice to have him to lean on. I just remember going to the rink with him all the time and all the guys were good to me, and it just made me want to play in the NHL that much more. "
What was it like coming from a strong hockey background? Did you feel like you were forced to pick the hockey route?
"Not at all. Growing up in Canada, it is kind of what everyone does. Having a dad who played hockey, and my grandpa is big into hockey, too; it just kind of happened naturally. All my friends were always doing it so it was always fun."
How old were you when you first started skating?
"I've been on skates since I could walk. I don't even know what age I was."
Who were some of your idols growing up?
"I was a big Rob Blake fan. Rob Blake and Scott Niedermayer. I also always loved watching Mario Lemieux. Not too many surprises there."
What do you remember most from your first NHL game?
"Just how nervous I was. We were playing Chicago at home, and I remember going out for warmup and I just couldn't believe that I was actually going to play in an NHL game. So that was the nerves. I remember I couldn't stop shaking until the game was over."
How did you score first NHL goal?
"My first goal was against Nashville at home. Dutchy (Matt Duchene) passed it to me on the power play, and I one-timed it and it squeaked through and went in."
Last year, you led the team's defense with 49 points (13 goals, 36 assists) in 78 games. What helped you get to be the top scorer on the D-line?
"Just doing the same thing I do every year. Just try to be a guy that contributes offensively from backend and moves the puck and jumps in the play and is good on power plays."
Did you play any other sports growing up?
"I played lacrosse, basketball and a little bit of soccer. I pretty much tried everything."
What was it like to sign a new four-year contract with the Avalanche in the offseason?
"It felt great. This has been a second home for me. It's nice to be here and have some security and know that this is the team that I will be with for the next four years, and we can try, just like the Broncos, get a championship here."
You got to take batting practice at Coors Field, what was that experience like?
"It was awful; it was fun, but I wasn't very good. It was fun to get out there, but I need some practice."
What is your favorite NFL team?
"The Broncos, of course. You always like to see the city win championships and doing well. I didn't really have a football team before I came to Denver when I got drafted here when I was 17 years old, so they have kind of been my team."
What is your favorite gas station snack?
"I always like a Slurpee, but I don't know if that counts as a snack."