A Kelowna resident since 2011, Tyson Jost may have been the most-travelled minor/junior hockey player in the city during the past five years.
And he’s on the move again.
Jost, who arrived in the Okanagan from St. Albert, Alta. to play with the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna as a 13-year-old, was chosen in the first round (10th overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in today’s NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo.
In an interview with Terry Frei of the Denver Post, Jost said he was looking forward to playing in Denver, a city he almost decided to call home.
“I had North Dakota and Denver as my top two universities,” Jost said from Buffalo after his selection. “I was so close to committing to Denver there, but in the end I’m very happy with my decision to go to North Dakota (for 2016-17).
“Right now I see myself playing one or two years at North Dakota. My ultimate goal, the reason I went to school was to develop as a player and ultimately get to the NHL and win a Stanley Cup. That’s the main reason I chose North Dakota is because they put players in the NHL and that’s my goal. If I work on a few details in my game and get bigger and stronger, I figure one or two years.”
Joe Sakic, the Avalanche general manager, said he has no problem waiting for their man.
"We're willing to wait. This is a kid we had really high on our board. We really love his character, we love his compete, he plays a full 200-foot game. He's a great leader and as a hockey player, he does everything really well. He can skate, he's got great vision and he can score. He's an all-around complete player."
A graduate of the Penticton Vees of the B.C. Hockey League where he played for two seasons and twice went on to represent Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge (MVP in 2015), Jost will play at the University of North Dakota this fall.
Following two seasons of bantam at POE where he accumulated 195 points in 76 games, Jost was a first-round (seventh overall pick) of the Everett Silvertips in the 2013 Western Hockey League bantam draft.
Jost, with the options of continuing at POE at the midget level, returning to St. Albert, or staying in Kelowna to play with the Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League, chose the latter.
Living in Kelowna with his grandparents, he continued to impress, scoring 44 goals and assisting on 44 others to win the BCMMHL scoring title with 88 points in just 36 games.
With Jost as the offensive stalwart on a line with Liam Finlay and Jake Kryski for most of the season, the Okanagan Rockets won the B.C. major midget title and went on to represent the Pacific Region at the 2014 Telus Cup where they claimed a bronze medal.
As a 16-year-old, Jost chose the Penticton Vees over the WHL Silvertips in Everett and helped that team win the BCHL championship and earn a trip to the RBC Cup in his rookie year. This past season, he continued to post impressive numbers (42 goals and 62 assists for 104 points in 48 games) in leading the Vees to a 50-7-1 record before the team was upset by the RBC Cup-champion West Kelowna Warriors in the Interior Division final series.
Jost was selected at the Vern Dye (of Vernon) Memorial Trophy winner as the BCHL’s most valuable player and added the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s MVP and CJHL’s national player of the year.
As well as playing for the Vees and at the WJAC tournament, Jost also represented Canada at the IIHF U18 world championship in Grand Forks, N.D. his spring. He led the tournament in points with 15 points in seven games to break the record set by none other than Connor McDavid.
“It’s been busy, and a long season,” said Jost, now 18, in an interview with Paul Edmonds of Hockey Canada. “But I never felt overwhelmed. It’s been an exciting year and you’ll never hear me complain about it.”
On the subject of the extra pressure of being among the top prospects for this year’s NHL draft, Jost said:
“It was definitely in the back of my mind,” he says. “How could it not be? But it didn’t affect my game. I was more focused on my team and not myself.”
Edmonds wrote last month during RBC Cup:
“In order to truly understand why Jost is a supernova on the ice with a moral compass that seemingly points perpetually in the right direction, one needs to look no further than his upbringing.
“As a single mother, Laura Jost raised Tyson and his sister alone since the two were toddlers. Sure, there was extended help from Laura’s parents, but many who have come to know Tyson and his mother understand the bond and respect that goes both ways between them.
“She’s a pretty special lady,” says Tyson of his mom. “We have a special connection.”
This includes a love for hockey; Laura is said to have an excellent understanding of the game, with a drive to succeed and commitment to fitness that has been passed down to her son both inherently and by example.What the “experts” were saying about Jost going into today’s NHL draft:
“Shifty centre with impressive feet and stickhandling ability. Can stickhandle in a phonebooth.
“A team leader who on the ice and in the room. Great vision and recognition in the offensive end, so he spreads away from teammates and then pinpoint passes to their sticks on the give and go.
“A terrific finisher with a great shot. Disciplined worker in his own zone. Wins puck battles and turns them into chances. He knows where to place himself so that the puck can find him.“Makes his teammates better. Not the finished product and needs more lower body strength and muscle.” — Bill Placzek
“Plays the game with a level of determination and purpose that is as high as anybody in the draft. Refuses to be denied in any area. Well rounded and there’s no area he can’t make a contribution.” Craig Button — TSN, director of scouting
"Jost has an excellent shot to compliment his extraordinary passing acumen, using soft hands and a quick release to turn a bad pass in his skates into a well-placed attempt at the net.
“Jost’s shot accuracy is top notch, and he will beat you from the inside of the ice or outside from his arsenal of moves. He is a three-zone center with decent size who will not necessarily avoid physical play, and he’s shown to control the puck while taking a beating." — The Draft Analyst.
"Tyson Jost is a crafty goal-scorer that carries out plays as quickly as he envisions them. As someone who thinks and plays at a fast tempo, it comes as no surprise that he creates a lot of energy as an offensive catalyst.
“He sees the ice very well and has the willingness and determination to win battles in the tough areas. All-in-all, a dynamic offensive forward with top-six potential at the next level." — Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects.
2016 NHL Entry Draft
Comments from DraftSite.com
1. Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews - Zurich (NLA) - Centre — 6'2" — 216 lbs
Leafs finally get a big strong centre-forward with soft hands, small-space agility and a nose for the net.
2. Winnipeg Jets — Patrik Laine - Tappara Tampere — Left Wing - 6'4" — 201
Winnipeg lucks out acquiring a dynamic, big shooting talent who can change games with his hands and playmaking.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets — Pierre-Luc Dubois - Cape Breton - Centre — 6'2" — 200
Jarmo and company surprise all by taking three-zone beast who is close to ready and one of the safer selections in the class.
4. Edmonton Oil Kings — Jesse Puljujarvi - Karpat — Right Wing – 6'3" — 196
Edmonton gets the consolation prize of Puljujarvi, who had no problem scoring goals in the Finnish Elite league against men. He plays right away and will be responsible on the entire sheet. Not only can he beat you with good reads, outstanding body position, quick hands, long reach and elite-heavy shot, he will hit top gear, make contact and leave defenders on their backsides.
5. Vancouver Canucks — Olli Juolevi — London — Defence — 6'2" — 185
Vancouver said all along they were looking at puck-carrying defencemen. He may have some commitment issues in the battle areas, but he's defensively aware and agility and puck movement, could with his high skill level and PP ability, he looks like a future NHL mailman.
6. Calgary Flames — Matthew Tkachuk — London — Left Wing – 6'2 — 188
He gets it done with elite hockey smarts, quickness, super hands, creative playmaking and fearlessness.
7. Arizona Coyotes — Clayton Keller — US-under-18 — Centre — 5'10" — 165
He gets it done with elite hockey smarts, quickness, super hands, creative playmaking and fearlessness.
8. Buffalo Sabres — Alexander Nylander — AIK —Left Wing — 6'1" — 178
Nylander is a pure skill playmaking alternative with terrific instincts, and the ability to stickhandle in a phone booth.
9. Montreal Canadiens — Mikhail Sergachyov — Windsor — Defence — 6'2" — 221
This first-year North American import has high-end mobility, a heavy shot, puck skills, and strong active stick to go with the ability give back what he gets. Dangerous when he has the puck on his stick on the attack, and very calm and reliable when he has it in the other two zones.
10. Colorado Avalanche — Tyson Jost — Penticton Vees — Centre — 5'11 1/2" — 190
He's a tad under six foot, but plays with the passion and competitiveness of a big man. You draft him and you know that he can play both PK and PP, in any situation, and on any line or role. He can play as a setup and at centre but is your speedy natural goalscorer as a wing.
11. Ottawa Senators — Logan Brown — Windsor — Centre — 6'6" — 220
Logan Brown is an answer to the Senators' prayers for a big Jean Beliveau-type centre forward with soft hands and vision. They may need to light a candle in hopes he continues to grow his offensive game.
12. New Jersey Devils — Michael McLeod — Mississauga — Centre — 6'2" — 185
He many project as a second liner, but don't let him get a half step on an NHL defenceman, or he's gone. He is a three-zone player who never takes a shift off.
13. Carolina Hurricanes — Jake Bean — Calgary — Defence — 6'1" — 173
He might be the best offensive D-man attacker in the class. His edging and feet are elite, and has a high-panic point as he waits and sees the openings and moves the puck to his best option. A terrific stick-handler and four direction skater who seems to have a little "letting" in him.
14. Boston Bruins — Charles McAvoy — Defence — US-under-18 — 6'0" — 206
His high water mark may be as a second pairing defender, but there is room for him get better all-around through the college route.