Mike Heika: You are playing in Da Beauty League this summer. Is it just like pick-up hockey or is it more intense than that?
Tyler Pitlick: It's little more intense than pick-up hockey. It's still fun. No one is going to run anyone, but there are 3,000 fans in the stands and that makes it a bigger deal. No one wants to look stupid, so everyone is going fairly hard out there. It's more competitive than just pick-up hockey.
Da Beauty League is 4-on-4 hockey played in Edina, Minn. by about 90 players from the NHL, minor leagues and colleges. Teams play once or twice a week, and fans cheer the players on in often sold out arenas. Pitlick currently is tied for third in scoring with six goals and six assists in four games.
Heika: What kind of workout is it?
Pitlick: It's good. It gets your competitive nature back and gets you in shape. You usually have six forwards, so you're playing a lot of hockey and getting up and down the ice. Everyone has fun with it, so it's a big deal.
Heika: Hockey is so popular in Minnesota that this is a big deal even in the summer time. What has your experience been with the fans?
Pitlick: I think the fans really bring a lot of energy. It's great for the younger fans to be able to come out and watch and get really close to the players. I wish when I was a kid that I had the chance to do something like this. After every game, there is a line of little kids waiting when we come out to get autographs. They can ask questions and do whatever they want to do, so it's pretty cool. I know I would have loved that.
There are three games a night and $10 admission gets you in for all three games. Children 10 and under are free. You can also buy a season pass.
Video: STL@DAL: Pitlick goes top shelf on a breakaway
Heika: What is it like growing up in "The State of Hockey?"
Pitlick: For me, I grew up in a hockey family and my uncle played in the NHL … really, my whole family played. We played hockey at Christmas every year, it was always hockey for my whole life. Where I grew up, there was a pond that had eight outdoor rinks in one facility. We'd go up there and play all day and mom would bring up pizza and it would just be incredible. We would stay up there until we had to go home at the end of the night.
Pitlick's uncle, Lance Pitlick, played 393 NHL games with Florida and Ottawa from 1994-2002.
Heika: Did you move up from one rink to another? Was there an "A" game that you aspired to?
Pitlick: Not exactly, but the coolest part about it was the older kids were there and they would let me play, and that's part of how I was able to progress and learn new things.
Video: DAL@SJS: Pitlick backhands rebound past Jones
Heika: I read that you would go out at night and shoot by yourself with no lights, what were you thinking then?
Pitlick: Yeah, it was just the moon and me. It was fun. It was a place where I could go to clear my mind. My whole life, I have always had hockey to fall back on, and that was one of those things where it really helped me. No matter what was going on, I felt good just being out there shooting. It kind of made sense, I guess.
Heika: What has been the difference between last summer and this summer for you?
Pitlick: Last summer, I was still recovering from the ACL injury and got right back to work rehabbing, so that was the focus. This summer, I took a vacation to the Bahamas, I got some time to relax and then jumped into this league. I've been enjoying the family and weather, and it's been really great.
Pitlick missed the second half of the 2016-17 season with Edmonton and was rehabbing knee surgery last summer. He signed a three-year free agent contract with Stars that averages $1 million per season and tallied 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) in 27 games.
Video: DAL@CHI: Pitlick fires home strong slap shot
Heika: What will you do after Da Beauty League is over?
Pitlick: Octagon (Sports Agency) kind of puts on a camp up here, and it's four teams rotating around doing drills and scrimmaging. It's not all Octagon guys, there are some college guys and minor guys, too. There's a lot of hockey players around, so they are good skates. Things went well last year for me in Dallas, so I'm looking to build on it.
Heika: If you brought a friend from Texas to Minnesota, what would you do?
Pitlick: There's nothing better in Minnesota in the summer than being on a lake, so that's what I would probably do.
Video: DAL@OTT: Pitlick spins, nets shot while falling
Heika: If you brought a friend from Minnesota to Texas, what would you do?
Pitlick: I think I would have to take them to a football game, probably a college football game. My friends are big fans of college football and have asked about it, so I would have to make good on that.
Heika: What was your first car?
Pitlick: My first car was a Ford Taurus. It was greyish-purplish(laughs). It got me where I had to go, until I was driving it to college and halfway there it blew up on me. It started smoking, and it was done. I didn't have a car in college.
Pitlick played one season at Minnesota State University and then played one season in Major Junior before turning pro.
Video: VGK@DAL: Pitlick jams in loose puck at the doorstep
Photo credit: Tom Morris, Da Beauty League
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.
Read more: Tyler Pitlick, On the Fly, Dallas Stars