If hockey was played by pedestrians in traffic, Cole Tymkin would be the reason to look both ways before you crossed the street.
Opponents notice him on the ice because they have to.
“I really like being aggressive on the ice. It doesn’t always have to be something physical, you can do it by talking as well. Anything that will get someone off their game – that’s what I enjoy doing.”
Tymkin is just starting his Ontario Hockey League career and he has already doled out two of the biggest body checks of the season. The native of Rainy River, Ontario was a fifth round pick of the London Knights after his minor midget season with the Thunder Bay Kings that saw him put up 68 points in 53 games.
Tymkin shifted to the Superior International Junior Hockey League in 2016-17. They have a travel schedule only an ice road trucker could love.
“You had some long trips. You had to go eight hours to Red Lake, but there are only six teams in it so it gets really competitive because you are playing the same team twelve times in a season.”
The 17-year old excelled on and off the ice, helping Fort Frances to the Dudley Hewitt Cup tournament and earning SIJHL All-Academic honours off the ice.
With all kinds of London Knights at NHL training camps to start this year, Tymkin has been able to log all kinds of ice for the Knights in the early going and even scored the game winning goal in London’s home opening victory over the Erie Otters.
“I saw (Yakimowicz) hook off, so I just went to the net and I guess it proves good things happen when you go there. Yak gave the puck to Victor (Mete) and he got a shot through that I was able to get my stick on and it ended up being a big goal.”
It ended up being the winning goal and it very likely won’t be the last one Cole Tymkin scores standing just outside the crease. He is willing to go there. The game of hockey has been through some changes and has played sheriff on some of the things that used to go on in front of the net. Old tricks like ankle-slashing, cross-checking and the-use of-a-stick-where-no stick-should-be-used are outlawed, but anything around the crease is far from a fuzzy blanket on a cold and drizzly day. There is punishment.
Some players put up with it to get a job done, others seem to thrive in that atmosphere.
Tymkin doesn’t mind it at all.
“I spent a lot of time there last year and the ice surface is no different here.”
So far, Tymkin has been able to leave an impression on a couple of opponents, on the back of a net and on his teammates who are beginning to find out he’s the kind of player who is a whole lot easier to play with than against.