*Photo Credit : Cheryl Dunning *
For Tyler Livingston, it was about collective culture, tough competition, and winning hockey games. His four-year MMJHL career was able to satisfy each of those requirements, and topped it off with a league championship in 2019.
After suffering a notable injury and losing record in his 2017-18 rookie season, Livingston’s determination to move forward and grow as a player led to collective success with the Twisters. Pembina Valley went from missing the postseason in 2018 to finishing first in the 2019 season standings with a record of 35-6-4. The Twisters would go on to beat the St. James Canucks in game seven in the final series to hoist the Jack McKenzie trophy as league champions.
Livingston would use that championship experience to fuel a deep desire to succeed with a new organization, as he was traded to the St. Boniface Riels at the beginning of his third season. Many teammates consider Livingston to be a large contributor to the team’s positive culture over the past few years. Strong leadership qualities earned Tyler the honours of being an assistant captain for the Riels, and a reliable defensemen on the ice.
Q: What motivated you to keep coming back for more each season.
TL: I started with the Twisters, and the training camp and first preseason tournament was a real eye-opener for me. This league is pretty legitimate, fast paced, hard hitting… There’s so much parity in the league that any team could win on any night. That drew me into the league… That first year with the Twisters was a tough year, having missed the playoffs, and I broke my wrist four games into the season and was out till Christmas… It killed me to be on the sidelines, especially when we weren’t winning all the time… I think that’s something that really drove me to keep going and make up for lost time.
In my second year with Pembina Valley, we knew we had a competitive team with a lot of returning players. At the time we didn’t understand how good we’d really be…. Ended up finishing first place and I think we set the franchise records for wins in a season by a Twisters team. The Charleswood Hawks gave us a good run in the playoffs, and Stonewall (Jets) took us to six games in the second round. We ended up playing St. James (Canucks) in the final series and took it to game seven in Morris. We were actually losing 4-0 in the second period and ended up winning 5-4!
The big thing that drove me in the third year after I got traded was that night that we won… the party, and the memories that you make that night after you win a championship… It’s such an addicting feeling that you just want to chase that. When I heard the news that I was traded, it wasn’t even five minutes later when Boucher was blowing up my phone with videos of him yelling, so excited that I was coming…. It’s nice to have someone in the room that you can work off of. It didn’t take me very long to get to know everyone and feel close to them.
Q: Tell us more about that Riels team.
TL: Well I definitely felt a high amount of respect from the moment I started with the Riels… You know, friendliness from the coaching staff, to the team staff, to all the guys…. Every player had their part in making it a good culture, and it’s tough to get yourself in that headspace when you’re not a top team, though we never felt like a bottom team… Every night we had a shot at winning and to make a game out of it.
*Photo Credit : Cheryl Dunning *
“The memories you make that night after you win a championship… It’s such an addicting feeling that you just want to chase that.”
Q: Any specific moments in your MMJHL career where you were truly proud of your team?
TL: Ya early in my career it’s a pretty special thing to win a championship… but when Ryan (Frykas) called me earlier in the season last year and told me I was going to be wearing an A, that was something that I’m pretty proud of. To be one of the few guys that gets to wear an A in the MMJHL…. I was honoured, for sure…. Any time that we’d win at home, and you would walk out with your head a bit higher, I was pretty proud of that as well.
Q: Anything to say to the guys, either your recent teammates or maybe new guys coming into the team for the upcoming season?
TL: Enjoy the time you have playing junior hockey, because it’s going to be some of the most fun years of hockey you’ll ever play. Go out there, compete, work hard, and have fun at the rink. Make sure to strengthen those friendships away from the rink as well, because those are friends that you’re always going to have… Any team you’re on is a brotherhood, but when you win a championship, it’s just that much more solid. It’s a memory you’ll always have together.
Q: Would you stay involved with hockey? Coaching? Do you want to continue playing competitively?
TL: Ya I plan on playing more. I live pretty close to Carmen and my plan is to go back in the fall and play senior mens hockey for the Carmen Beavers.
As far as coaching, I’ve coached a few different sports in the past, and definitely plan on coaching hockey one day. Was thinking that I’d wait till I have a kid one day then coach their novice team. That would be fun, hockey in its purest form. It’s a great way to stay involved in the community as well. Coming from a small town (Miami, MB), I know that it’s the people involved with small town sports which help keep the communities alive.
Q: What’s been the focus for you since hockey was suspended in October?
TL: Holding it down, and doing online classes at the University of Manitoba for Agriculture, so that’s been keeping me pretty busy up until last week. Still have another year left in the program. When hockey first shut down there, I was hunting quite regularly … I have a lot of hunting buddies, and it was something that I haven’t been able to dedicate much time too in the last four years because of hockey and school, so it was good to be able to do more of that in the past year.
Q: Any short term or long term goals you’ve set for yourself that you would care to share?
TL: Short term, I have a job with an agriculture company set up for this summer so I’m looking forward to that! Another summer of learning and being mentored by a few different guys in the professional field. I did pretty much the same thing last summer and my mentor was pretty awesome. Looking forward to learning even more this summer.
Basically, I want to scout fields… Let’s say you have a soybean field and there’s disease going through it, I want to be the guy to check out the field and suggest solutions in terms of certain products… Agronomy solutions you could say. My grandpa farmed from the time I was born, and my dad basically did the same thing as an agronomy specialist my whole childhood, so it’s something that I was exposed to and sort’ve fell in love with over the years.
On behalf of the Riels organization, congratulations on a successful MMJHL career, Tyler, and wishing you all the best with your future endeavours!
Regular Season Stats
2017 – 2018
2018 – 2019
|2019 – 2020||45||1||9||10||15|
|2020 – 2021||4||0||2||2||0|