By Gillian Saunders – Silvertips staff writer
One of the most beloved and engaging figures in Everett Silvertips hockey, Kyle Beach captivated the emotions of Snohomish County each night with his high end skill, laced with a touch of toughness and bravado.
Taking his game to new heights meant being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks, 11th overall in 2008 during the NHL Entry Draft, coming off his second straight 60 point, 190-penalty minute season. He already had CHL All-Rookie and WHL Rookie of the Year honors under his belt.
Beach was dealt next season to Lethbridge in a three player, first round draft pick (’09) trade and moved on to spend four full seasons in the American Hockey League. He’s since been seen in Europe with the Graz 99ers (Austria), coming off a 30-goal and 45-point (including 123 PIM’s) season.
Beach is back in North America after completing this season, recently joining the Silvertips during the recent road trip in Kelowna. He had some words to share.
Question: To see the guys in Kelowna, to see Brennan Sonne, Kevin Constantine, and Mitch Love, what did that mean to you?
KYLE BEACH: It meant a lot. I got home last night from Austria and was with one of the guys from the hometown that was involved with the Rockets and he actually informed me that Everett was in town. I immediately reached out to him, and was really excited to get down to the rink this morning to spend time with them.
Q: What do you admire most about Kevin Constantine?
KB: You know, he taught me the little things about the game, and he brought in a kid that was immature and 15 or 16, and he really taught me to be professional and how the game’s played the right way. He taught me how to play defense, which I’m still struggling with a little bit, but he taught me the little things, and most of all he taught me how to be a good person and to respect the game. You look at the players and teams he’s coached; they all have success. He was great for me and my game. I’m fortunate enough to still be playing today and I think that’s got a lot to do with what he taught me.
Q: It seems you have some self deprecation for your own game defensively! I think anybody would kill to be in your position to play for this long out of a career and make it a long time, especially as well in Europe. How much have you grown, not just as a player but as a person, maybe in the last decade?”
KB: It’s crazy to look back at pictures and videos. We sit down every now and then with guys that I’ve played with in my Everett and Spokane days. To look back and think of things that we were doing, and what we thought was funny then, you know, it’s crazy how much things have changed, but sitting here at the pregame meal with the boys it’s easy to see how much it’s the same. It’s nice to see the boys and how much they enjoy the game and love the game. That’s something that a lot of the time you kind of lose over the years but it’s something that’s so important if you want to keep playing this game.
Q: Teammate that you text most from back in the day, who is it?
KB: Probably Zack Dailey. Obviously we went to school together, and got in some trouble together. He’s always been like a brother to me, and we normally catch up at least once a year. Sometimes its in Everett and last summer it was in Edmonton, so we try to get together and keep in touch as much as possible.
Q: Best game you ever had as a Silvertip, what was it?
KB: (long pause) There’s a bunch. First one that comes to mind was the first game I ever played, Medicine Hat. I scored my first goal in the first game, and that was pretty exciting. Then you move in to getting the chance to play in the playoffs at age 15, you know, there’s so many good memories in Everett. The first full season as a 16 year old, we won the division title and the conference and I won Rookie of the Year after having that season. Getting to play with the likes of Peter Mueller, Zach Hamill, Leland Irving, and Taylor Ellington, the list goes on. Thinking about those teams Jonathon Hardy played against this year in Austria, it’s funny to see but there are so many good memories, but a few tough ones. Getting traded out of there, at the time I thought it was going to be exciting, then I realized when I cried myself to sleep the next two weeks that you dont realize what you had in Everett until you’re gone, and its something I hope guys learn, but if you haven’t played somewhere else it’s hard to understand as well.
Q: Does being a part of several playoff runs with this team, and now seeing this team come so close, chasing the division title in the final week of the regular season, bring back some good memories for you?”
KB: Absolutely, I mean you always have a connection to those teams, and it’s funny because it’s tough to follow hockey when you’re overseas because it’s a 9 hour time change to BC and Washington. To get back and hear about it time to time and see it on twitter and Instagram, seeing the crowd getting bigger and bigger every night and hearing the crowd in the background of videos, makes it the most exciting time of the year. No matter what, they’re going to be in the playoffs, but it’s always extra special when you can add a banner to the rafters and you can see what these guys are accomplishing and what they’re able to do. It’s pretty exciting and it gives me shivers just thinking about it, and bringing it back to those memories of when we were raising banners.”
Q: As far as your pro-career, what’s next?
KB: You know, I’ve been informed by Graz, who I played for this season, that they’re not going to bring me back. I’ve got a couple of offers and I think I’m really close to signing one for a two year deal. I will have at least another two years of my career, and it’s fun, I really enjoy playing in Austria. It’s a great country, and I got to know a lot of the locals, and now I’m trying to learn the language a little bit; not enough to have full conversations, but little bits and pieces. It’s nice once you get to know a place, to go back and be able to sign a two year deal would be a great opportunity and an exciting time.
Silvertips radio play-by-play announcer Mike Benton contributed to this story.