Student of game

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:04 PM ET

Most teenage hockey players share the same goal.

Get drafted by a WHL team and then star in Western Canada's top junior circuit.

Not Tyler Gron. He's got other plans.

The 17-year-old centre was originally drafted by the WHL's Prince George Cougars.

But he decided to pursue an NCAA scholarship while playing with the AJHL's Spruce Grove Saints.

"The WHL has always been an option for me but I don't think I've ever seriously considered it," Gron says.

"My family and I have talked about it but it's never been serious like I'm packing my bags."

The Cougars dealt Gron's rights to Medicine Hat during the pre-season but Gron still isn't biting.

"Things changed a little bit when I got traded to Medicine Hat," he said. "It did become a better option."

But not good enough.

"I think I'm going to shoot for the school route."

Gron is enjoying a sensational season with his hometown Saints.

He's fourth in the league in scoring with nine goals and 17 points in 14 games.

Saints head coach Steve Hamilton couldn't be happier with Gron's decision.

"He's a very gifted player," Hamilton said. "He competes very hard and has a lot of upside.

"We're certainly happy he's here in Spruce Grove. It's nice to have a hometown guy who plays in front of his family and friends 30 times a year."

The Grade 12 student has been contacted by a number of NCAA schools, although he has yet to make a choice.

"I'll be flying down there at the end of the month," Gron said.

"I want to make a decision before the end of the season.

"But right now, the table is open. I don't know where I'm going."

The 5-ft. 11-in., 195-pounder takes his studies seriously.

"There's the business degree that I think every hockey player on a scolarship will end up taking.

"Law is also interesting to me."

For now, he's enjoying playing for the Saints.

"It's great being able to sleep in your own bed. Going to school with all your friends, it's comfortable.

"All I have to worry about is hockey."

Despite the time commitments of playing in the AJHL and keeping up with his school work, Gron finds time to give back to the community as an assistant coach with the bantam AA Colts.

"Someone asked me last season if I just wanted to help out. I said 'sure, I'll try it.' And I just kept coming back."


Videos

Photos