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Ryan Leslie sat down with Flames prospect Tyler Parsons, who talked about his childhood on the tough streets of Detroit, his unique path to become a highly touted NHL prospect, and the major role his mom and stepdad have played in his success.

by RYAN LESLIE @ryanleslie73 /

One of the Flames' top goaltending prospects may not know where he'll play this season just yet but the fact that he's playing at a high level at all is incredible and quite improbable.

Tyler Parsons grew up in Detroit. Not the easiest of childhoods, certainly not the easiest of paths to the NHL. His mom was 18 when Parsons was born. They both lived with his grandparents and his two young uncles who ultimately got the only child into the game of hockey.

Avoiding some of the pitfalls that come with growing up in a tough area would be the biggest challenge for Parsons. Ironic that for a guy whose living is to make saves, it would be hockey that would save him.

While mom was making ends meet it would be Tyler's stepdad who would help guide his hockey career. From roller hockey to eventually getting on the ice, he made sure the dream didn't derail. His truck-driving stepdad - who had to fight his own share of battles growing up - was always there.

And because of them both, Tyler had a shot.

Fast forward to junior in London, Parsons was turning heads and getting noticed. Wildly athletic and incredibly relentless, the kid from the Motor City refuses to give up on pucks.

His teammate with the Knights - Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk - has nothing but praise for his goalie's play. They would go on to win a Memorial Cup together and would both hear their names called by the Flames on draft day. In fact, Parsons stayed with Tkachuk during this year's training camp.  

Could they be reunited once again soon at the NHL level?

Time will tell but as you'll hear in the Flames Up Close Podcast, Parsons is very real and wise beyond his 19 years of age. From tattoos with deep meaning, to talking about his life and upbringing, his defeats on the ice, to accomplishments such as winning world junior gold ...Tyler Parsons, you can't help but cheer for the kid!


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