The long and winding hockey road for Cole Tymkin has led him to his most enjoyable destination yet.
The 24-year-old product of Rainy River, who now calls Fort Frances home, recently wrapped up his sophomore season with the OUA’s Brock Badgers based out of St. Catharines.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward collected six goals and 12 assists for 18 points in 26 regular-season games and added another two goals and an assist in five playoff games as the Badgers made it to the second round of the OUA Queen’s Cup playoffs before falling to the Windsor Lancers.
“I felt like it was a good season individually,” said Tymkin, who saw significant improvement from his freshman season where he only got into six games and registered three points.
“I had a big role as part of the top line that produced a lot of energy and offence,” he added. “I never worry about how many points I get in a season, but I was happy with my offensive stats this season.”
The Badgers, under first-year head coach TJ Manastersky, finished in third place in the OUA’s West Division with a 17-10 record to wind up just two points behind the Lakehead Thunderwolves and the Lancers, who both were 18-9.
Brock defeated the Laurier Golden Hawks 2-1 in their best-of-three opening-round series before being swept by Windsor in two straight games.
Tymkin joined the Badgers in 2021 after four years with the OHL’s London Knights, where he racked up a total of 93 points in 199 career games.
It was a much-welcomed return to the ice after COVID-19 washed away nearly all levels of competitive hockey for an entire season.
“What I enjoyed about my first season with the Badgers was playing hockey and being a part of a team again,” recalled Tymkin.
“After COVID, it was hard to remember what being part of a team and having a hockey season felt like. However, after connecting with the great group of guys on the team, it was easy to get back into it.”
Tymkin starred for the Fort Frances Muskies in his rookie Grade 9 season before heading east to join the Thunder Bay Kings U-16 AAA squad in 2014. His combination of physical play and scoring prowess translated into an impressive 68-point campaign in just 53 games with the Kings.
That led the Fort Frances Lakers to come calling for Tymkin, who rewarded his hometown squad by garnering SIJHL rookie-of-the-year honours in 2016 after posting 48 points in 49 games, plenty good enough to gain the attention of the Knights.
Tymkin has not forgotten the important lessons learned at each of his previous stops along his journey.
“It was always a new stepping stone moving up from each team,” he recounted. “I definitely felt more comfortable playing at home with the Muskies and the Lakers, but where I really found myself as a hockey player is when I moved away from home and got out of my comfort zone.
“As hard as it was for me to be away from home, I thank everyone who pushed me to chase my hockey career and I wouldn’t be where I am without them."
“I want to give credit to the Muskies and the Lakers for helping me mature and realize my potential to play in the OHL. Each level was a major developmental step and I can’t thank my parents and coaches enough.”
Tymkin plans on completing his sports management degree over the next two years while trying to help the Badgers take the next step towards winning their first Queen’s Cup, which they came within a game of doing so before losing to the now two-time champion UQTR Patriotes in the championship final in Tymkin’s first season there.
In his mind, there is plenty of room for optimism heading into next season.
“I like (Brock’s chances) a lot,” Tymkin stated.
“We completely revamped the team (from 2021). We have a new leadership group and a lot more ambition as a group. I am excited to see what’s in store for us (next) season.
“Hopefully, it will be a Queen’s Cup.”