Another Bonnyville area hockey player has committed to an NCAA for an athletic scholarship.
Bonnyville’s Tyler Blocha announced over the weekend that he is committing to Northern Michigan with the intention of going to school in 2023-24.
The Drayton Valley Thunder forward (’03) has 4 goals and 6 assists through 14 games of his first true Alberta Junior Hockey League season.
“I was very excited when it happened on Friday,” Blocha told Lakeland Connect. “I had the offer for a couple days. I was keeping it in mind and the more I thought about it, the more I got excited about it. I just couldn’t say no to it.”
Blocha said that discussions with Northern Michigan began in the early part of the season, and then heated up after his injury return.
The news means Blocha has fulfilled a substantial goal for himself.
“I was talking to them at the Showcase in Brooks. I talked to the assistant coach after. I had a good convo with them…started talking lots after I got back from my injury at the start of the season. Lots of ccommunication back and forth and then they asked to do a zoom call and showed me the campus and everything. Then they made the offer,” he said.
“It always was the goal [pursuing NCAA]. Even during the Bantam Draft with the WHL, I was sort of a late bloomer and had it in my mind that college was probably the best route for me.”
Blocha is enjoying success with Drayton Valley, who currently sit 4th in the North Division, eight points behind the Bonnyville Pontiacs. His 0.7 points per game is tied for 3rd best on his club.
“We got off to a real hot start at the beginning of the season, then got into a bit of a lull. But I feel like we’re starting to come together as a team and everyone is starting to find their game. Our team is starting to come together real nice,” said Blocha.
The aim is to go to Northern Michigan for the 2023-2024 season when he is 20-years-old.
In the meantime, Blocha is appreciative of all the help, and sacrifices those around him have made to get him to the point.
“I would like to thank my parents. They’ve always been there for me. They’ve always supported me and everything that I’ve done and every route that I’ve taken. They’ve always been there and I’m really appreciative of that,” he said.
“And just my coaches along the way helping me to get to this point. Obviously, my dad was my coach for the longest time, but I’ve had coaches that have really helped me elevate my game and continue pursuing this stream of hockey.”