EVERETT — Tyson Phare’s young Western Hockey League career has spanned two Canadian provinces and a U.S. state. It’s featured a first-round draft selection and two trades, all before his 18th birthday
Now, he’s ready to finally settle in.
Phare, the newly acquired forward the Everett Silvertips picked up in a trade with Lethbridge on Tuesday, has plenty of hockey left to play in his junior career, but he’s experienced the business side of the WHL like a grizzled veteran.
Phare, 17, was the 18th overall pick by Prince George in the 2017 bantam draft — two picks before Everett defenseman Ronan Seeley — but his tenure with the Cougars was brief. Phare made the team initially as a 16-year-old, but he was in and out of the lineup because of injuries and switched from forward to defense.
Phare decided to leave the Cougars last January and he played the rest of the season with Delta Hockey Academy, where he registered 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 10 games.
“It just wasn’t the right situation for me as a person and I had some things going on with my family and it was hard to be in a situation that wasn’t the right one for me at that time,” he said. “It was kind of just a family decision. A lot of factors leading into that one.”
Phare was traded to Lethbridge during the 2019 bantam draft and played in two games with the Hurricanes before being flipped to Everett.
The Silvertips are intrigued by Phare’s potential, but he won’t be expected to play like a first-round pick from the get-go for the Silvertips. They just want him to play his game.
“I always tell them when they get here that it’s a clean slate,” Williams said of newly acquired players. “Just commit to wanting to be a hockey player for us and we’ll do the same back.
“Sometimes it takes a little bit to find the right spot,” Williams added. “And not to say those organizations are doing anything wrong, you just have to find the right mix that can play into your systems and your expectations. I’m excited and I’m sure he’s excited. He gets a clean slate and a fresh breath. Drop the puck and let’s play.”
When Phare heard from Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt this past Tuesday morning that he was being traded, he wasn’t caught completely off-guard by his phone call at first; Phare had been nursing a head cold and figured Anholt was checking on him.
But when he heard he was traded, that was surprising.
“I was excited to get a chance with the team over here, it was just tough leaving my billet family,” Phare said. “They’re awesome people and I’m really close with them, so that was tough. But hockey-wise, I’m really excited to get started here.”
Perhaps Phare’s arrival in Everett was a bit of fate.
When Prince George visited Everett last season on Dec. 29, Phare was in the stands while sidelined with a lower-body injury and was in awe of the ambiance inside of Angel of the Winds Arena while the Silvertips thumped the Cougars, 6-1.
“I was excited for Everett and I wasn’t even on the right team,” Phare said. “It was just a different environment to a lot of places, just a different level. Just the fans in here and this organization are just amazing.”
In that atmosphere, Phare hopes he’s found a permanent WHL home.
“Obviously it’s tough moving around, but I think I have a good opportunity here in Everett,” Phare said. “This is a good young group and we can kind of learn and build together and grow together and I hope to be a part of that for a long time.”