In 1984, Bryan Adams released his “Reckless” album and with it, “Summer of 69”.
In the 32 years that have gone by, that song has hammered home the idea that the summer of ‘69 must have been the greatest summer ever. It has become so well known that Adams only has to sing the first line in concert and the crowd just takes it from there.
By the way, Bryan Adams was nine in the summer of ’69.
The summer of ’16 doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. More than likely, it will never be immortalized in a song, but if you talk to Tyler Parsons, it blows anything with a “six string” and a “five and dime” completely out of the water.
The summer of ’16 is going to stand out to Parsons for the rest of his life.
When it kicked off, Parsons was still basking in the Memorial Cup Championship that he had been such a big part of only under a month earlier.
If a good performance can turn heads, what the former roller hockey goalie from Chesterfield, Michigan did against the best of the best of the Major Junior world caused a lot of cranial spin.
Parsons posted a 1.93 goals against average and a .946 save percentage in Red Deer and most importantly, demonstrated to the hockey world that he was the kind of goalie who could come up huge when his team needed him to.
Anyone who needs proof only has to go back to overtime in the Memorial Cup final against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. One shot had the power to elate in the same way that it had the power to crush and Parsons kept the Knights out of the jaws of defeat by making some saves that had a degree of difficulty high enough to make synchronized divers cringe.
But he made those kinds of saves again and again and got the chance to celebrate with his team at the top of the Canadian Hockey League mountain.
Parsons hardly had time to fly back from Alberta and meet fans quickly at Victoria Park in London before he was whisked away to the NHL Scouting Combine. Days after that came the NHL Entry draft that could have taken Parsons to Buffalo. Instead, he decided not to attend, choosing to watch the draft closer to home, where he hadn’t been able to spend a whole lot of time..
“I had a party at my grandma’s house. We had about 90 people over. Pretty much everyone I knew was there. The Memorial Cup was even there. And then, just after 10 o’clock in the morning, Calgary came up to pick and I just had some kind of gut feeling that I was going there and they called my name and it went up on the board and everyone in the house went wild. Calgary is a great spot for me and a great organization.”
Even that celebration didn’t last long before Parsons was off to Plymouth and the World Junior Showcase as one of the goaltenders for Team USA. He had been invited to the selection camp as an 18-year old and although he didn’t make the final roster (not many 18 year old goalies do) he embedded himself on radar and played a very prominent role in tournament games this summer including a 35-save performance against Team Canada.
“The past couple of summers have been long, but they’ve been great. You might not get as much time as you want to go camping or hang out with friends, but I’d rather have a championship ring than a vacation.”
You won’t find Parsons flipping through travel magazines in his spare time right now either. He still has no time to be interested in what deals might exist that could take him to the sunny south.
The lowest parallel he will see is just under the 49th in Windsor or Erie.
And don’t expect him to rest on his current resume.
This is the guy who doesn’t want you to score on a third rebound in practice.
He will be out to prove himself all over again.
That’s what he has done his entire career.
Why change now?