Glastonbury’s Mr. Everything

Over the past two seasons, Glastonbury High hockey player Tyler MacLean has established himself as the Tomahawks go-to-player. The senior forward is a skilled offensive player, and has demonstrated a knack for coming up big in key moments. More impressive than MacLean’s stats and accomplishments, however, are his work ethic and leadership skills. Every day, both on and off the ice, MacLean sets examples for his teammates to follow.

After helping lead last year’s squad to a 17-7 campaign that included a CCC North title and a trip to the state quarterfinals, MacLean and Glastonbury are experiencing similar success this season. The 11-3-1 Tomahawks are second in both the CCC North and Division I standings. MacLean has scored eight goals and earned nine assists, and is tied for the team lead in points.

Maclean holds the team and himself to a high standard. As well as the season has gone, he believes it could be going even better.

“We’re having a good season, but we’ve been inconsistent on offense,” Maclean said. “We need to communicate with one another better. I can also play better. I wish I were scoring more, but as long as we win that’s all that matters.”

Glastonbury head coach Ken Barse has been very satisfied with his captain’s play.

“Tyler has been the fastest skater on the ice in each game. He was outstanding in our Ridgefield and Simsbury victories,” Barse said.

MacLean is an athletic and versatile forward who is equally adept at setting up teammates and making plays on his own. He said that his biggest strengths are his speed and overall skating ability, both of which Barse singled out as well.

“Because of my speed, I am able to skate around and avoid opposing players. This allows me to get better shots and find open teammates more easily,” MacLean said.

MacLean also said that his passing is a strength and he enjoys earning an assist more than a goal.

MacLean has improved tremendously from the beginning of his high school career until now. He did not play any varsity as a freshman or sophomore, and was not originally expected to be as successful as a junior. However, MacLean’s work ethic and desire to get better helped him emerge as a top player last season.

“During that offseason, I spent a ton of time practicing with teammates and working on becoming a better skater and stronger,” he said. “With my teammates help, I was able to become two steps quicker and have a strong season.”

Maclean scored 10 goals and earned 16 assists. He led the team in assists and finished second in points. MacLean was named All-CCC.

MacLean has continued to improve his skating and strength, which has made hockey easier for him.

“I am able to both take and avoid hits. The harder you make it for opponents to stay with you and push you around, the easier it is to execute,” he said.

Barse praised MacLean’s work ethic, saying that it has helped him become more relaxed.

“His work ethic has always been second to none. He has become more patient on and off the ice. He no longer gets frustrated and knows that hard work will prevail,” Barse said.

MacLean’s shining moment last season came when he scored the game winner against Xavier in the first round of the state playoffs. MacLean received the puck on a breakaway and made a nifty move to beat the goalie and give Glastonbury a 2-1 lead.

“It was so exciting and special. I’ll always remember the big smile I had on my face.”

MacLean is one of Glastonbury’s three senior captains. His work ethic, skill, and knowledge of the game has earned him the respect of his teammates, and they constantly look to him to lead them.

“I try to lead by example by working hard and staying focused,” MacLean said. “It’s easy for me to encourage my teammates and teach them. We have an equal team, so a lot of guys provide leadership.”

“I knew from the moment I met Tyler that he would lead this team,” Barse said. “His outstanding character and natural leadership abilities are a model to the other players.”

MacLean gives Barse a large amount of credit for his success. He loves playing for Barse because of his personality and ability to teach.

“Coach Barse is very positive and nurturing. He makes sure to correct you and teach you how to do things the right way.”

For Barse, coaching MacLean has been a highly rewarding experience.

“It has been great atching Tyler grow up into the man he is today. He has become an extension of the coaching staff, and I am blessed by the relationship we have formed.”

For MacLean, winning the state championship would be the perfect ending to his career. The Tomahawks are ranked in the state’s top 10 and are considered a favorite for the Division I championship.

“That has been our goal from the moment the season started. We have the ability to win it. We just need to develop chemistry and score more consistently,” he said.

MacLean, who is a high honors student, has no concrete plans to play hockey in college. Depending on where he attends, he may play club hockey. Whether he continues playing or not, however, MacLean knows he will forever cherish playing for Glastonbury.

“I’ll always remember the bus rides and talking hockey with Coach Barse, and getting the chance to play with my best friends. It’s an amazing experience.”

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