Off the ice with BCHL forward Kyle Mountain

This article can be found published on Chicks Who Give a Puck.
Kyle Mountain had 31 goals and 31 assists in 89 games with the New Hampshire Monarchs. (Penticton Vees)

Kyle Mountain had 31 goals and 31 assists in 89 games with the New Hampshire Monarchs. (Penticton Vees)

Kyle Mountain may not be as tall as his last name suggests, but the 6-1 forward has chipped in 9 goals and 10 assists for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) in 37 games. The best thing about him? He’s a native of the Philadelphia area. Born and raised in Bryn Mawr, the 20-year-old Mountain has pursued a life of hockey. He spent the past three years with the New Hampshire Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) before he joined Penticton. Over the summer, Mountain was invited to attend the Philadelphia Flyers prospect camp where he got to skate and play on the ice where his favorite hockey team practices.

Mountain took time to talk with us about playing hockey and what it was like having the chance to put the Flyers logo on for what hopefully won’t be the last time.

CWGAP: How did you get started in hockey?

KM: “I started playing when I was 4. My older brother and I started playing together. It was just something we tried out. I guess we kind of liked it and stuck with it for a while and as time went on we got more serious about it. We played a lot of sports growing up, so it was just natural that we started playing hockey too.”

CWGAP: Is there any kind of player you modeled yourself after?

KM:Rod Brind’Amour was always one of my favorite players. His work ethic and his dynamic game and his ability to be effective in all three zones is something that I kind of tried to model after. I think that’s the kind of player I am where I try to be effective in all areas of the game and any situation, whether it be penalty kill or powerplay or whatever it might be. So I’d say he is one of the top guys that I model myself after, for the most part. Him and maybe Jarome Iginla as well.”

CWGAP: What made you decide to try out for the Flyers?

KM: “It was over the summer and they called me and they told me they’d like to invite me to the [prospect] camp. That was the one offer I got this summer and it was a no-brainer. Obviously, with what a good team that is and obviously guys that go through that system are pretty successful, and also the fact I’ve been a fan of the Flyers for my whole life.”

CWGAP: What was it like putting on the Flyers sweater after you grew up rooting for them?

KM: “It was pretty special. Like I said, they were my favorite team my whole life and just a couple months before I was cheering for them during the playoffs. Just to put on the jersey was pretty special and it meant a lot. I think that was a big part of the reason that I wanted to go there just because it was a team that I loved for a long time. It was a pretty great feeling to put it on.”

CWGAP: What kind of things did you take away from the coaches at the camp?

KM: “Where I need to go and what I need to work on. I think I had a pretty successful camp and I learned a lot and it was great to use the camp as a measuring stick to see how I stack up against other guys that are a little bit older and in the system. It was great to learn from those guys and get the coaches’ opinions on the next couple of steps for me and where they think I need to go to reach that next level. So it was mostly just the things that I need to do on and off the ice to elevate my game.”

CWGAP: How different is it going from an American league up to now playing in a Canadian one?

KM: “It’s a lot different. The experience I had is not much like it is up here. The town is much more involved with the team. I think when you get into those big American cities, it’s hard to build a following, but when you’re in a smaller town, especially with the hockey crazy people here – they’re so into the game. They have a real, genuine interest in the team. I’d say that’s the biggest change. The league that I am playing in now is better than the league I was in. The biggest change is just the community – how much more they care about hockey and the environment. Obviously, that’s a good change. I’ve been really happy with it.”

CWGAP: How did you make it on to the Penticton Vees?

KM: “I was with the same junior team for the past three years in New Hampshire and I thought maybe it was time for a change and go somewhere new and go to a league that is a little bit better – a step up. I made some phone calls and checked in with some teams in some different leagues and Penticton said that they had a pretty strong interest in me as a player. The offer I got from them was much more appealing than any other offer. They offered me a spot without even having to tryout. They said that they really wanted me. Knowing how successful the program is and how guys move on after – it was a really easy decision to make. The program speaks for itself. It’s one of the more respected programs, I think, in junior hockey. I was obviously thrilled to hear from them.”

CWGAP: You can’t get much farther away on the continent to play hockey than you are now. Is it tough being so far from home?

KM: “Yeah, it is, but I’m used to it. I’ve been away from home for a number of years now and it’s something my family and I have – I don’t want to say gotten used to – but we understand that if you want to move on to the next level in this game, you have to move away. We learned that when my brother and I were in high school. If you want to play really good hockey at that level you got to go elsewhere. It’s something with our family that we understand and the sacrifice has to be made, but I think it’s worth it. Obviously I miss my family, miss the area and my friends, but it’s worth it now and it’s definitely going to be worth it down the road. I don’t think I would trade it back.”

CWGAP: What’s the one thing you miss about Philly and about the United States?

KM: “Most about the States would be, I’d say, college football and college basketball. You don’t get a lot of college football and basketball up here – they don’t show many games. The thing I miss most about Philly is obviously the city itself. I love the city of Philly. I love going into the town and spending time in the city and seeing games and things like that. I haven’t been to a Phillies game since the summer and haven’t been to a Flyers game this year. I’ll be home next week so hopefully that will make up for it a little bit.

CWGAP: A lot of hockey players have a backup plan in case things fall through. Is sports writing yours?

KM: “Yeah, somewhat. I don’t know if that’s exactly what I want to do, but I have always had a strong interest in writing. That’s definitely a passion that I do have and something that I would like to get involved with when I’m older. It’s always been a priority to have options because hockey is not going to last forever. [Writing ] is something that I really got involved in over the past year or so. I think that once hockey does end – I don’t know if that’s the one thing that I would want to do – but that’s definitely something that I’d be interested in. I’ve been working on that, trying to keep my options open.”

CWGAP: Where are you hoping to go from here?

KM: “I’ve been talking to schools this year and I haven’t committed anywhere yet, but I’m hoping that in the next month or so – month or two maybe – I’ll commit to a school. I’ll be going to college next year. I  don’t think, or actually know, that I’ll be playing major junior [hockey]. I’d much rather get an education. This is my last year playing junior and next year I’ll be going to school.”

CWGAP: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received for hockey and for life?

KM: “I don’t know if it’s one single piece. I think it’s just my family has always preached hard work and perseverance and doing things the right way. It’s been that way since I was really young, so it’s instilled in me… I would credit it most to that. My dad was a big part in that and making sure we were always working hard in whatever we were doing, whether it was sports or school. Whatever it may happen to be, so I’d say that was probably the biggest thing for me.”

CWGAP: Philadelphia is a great town for hockey but nothing ever really compares to Canada. Is there anything in particular that you’ve notice over there in terms of hockey fandom that you’d love to see instilled in the U.S.?

KM: “People up here, not only do they love the game, but they really understand it. Philadelphia is kind of an exception. I think it’s a great hockey town, but you can have a conversation about hockey with people that don’t understand the game. It’s nice to know that in this area and all around Canada, everybody’s a hockey fan the same way everybody in the U.S. is a football fan. They follow it closely; they really understand it and they have a passion for it. I’d say the biggest difference is just people’s ability to understand the game. Everybody up here plays hockey growing up. Just like in the States everybody plays football and basketball growing up. Here, it’s hockey. That’s probably the biggest difference. There is really a strong passion for the game up here and it’s nice to be around.”

CWGAP: Is there any kind of advice you’d like to give kids in Philadelphia who want to pursue hockey like you?

KM: “The biggest thing has always been hard work and it’s always been not letting people label you and not letting people tell you what you are and not letting them tell you what you can and can’t do. If it’s something you want to be then go be it. Don’t let any other people hold you back. That’s the biggest thing with some people. They hear people’s opinion and that dictates how they feel about themselves. The biggest thing is to have a strong opinion about yourself and don’t let other people affect it.”

You can read Mountain’s sports blog, “The Show,” here.

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Categories: BCHL, Features, Ice Hockey, Sports

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