Brad Dyke is shown in this undated photo. — Star file photo
CORNER BROOK Brad Dyke hopes he has no regrets about putting his nursing career before stopping pucks in provincial senior hockey circles.
The Corner Brook native won’t be returning to the crease of the Western Royals for the 2013-14 Newfoundland Senior Hockey League season after coming to the realization that his life as a nurse with Western Health will be a little too hectic for him to commit to spending his weekends as part of the goaltending tandem.
“I would love to play, but right now it doesn’t seem possible to juggle both,” Dyke said Tuesday.
Dyke is a registered nurse who is in the casual pool at Western Memorial Regional Hospital, but he’s been working full-time hours and that requires him to work on weekends.
The 24-year-old lanky puckstopper found his way back to the city at the age of 20 when he wrapped up his major junior hockey career on the mainland. He spent four years with the Royals and had his good moments and not-so good moments during his tenure. Last season, Dyke was sharing crease duties with Doug Jewer, but then Royals president Ross Coates opted to release Jewer in favour of bringing in import goalie Bryan Gillis.
Dyke finished the 2012-13 regular season with a 3-3 record with a 5.67 Goals Against Average and an .848 Save Percentage. He settled for the back-up role in the post-season, which saw Gillis provide solid goaltending despite the Royals bowing out to the Clarenville Caribous in five games in a best-of-seven semifinal series.
During Dyke’s days with the Royals, he took his share of criticism as the Royals struggled to put wins on the board and bring a consistent effort to the rink. But, he had four years of hockey on the mainland that gave him an idea of how nasty fans can get and he realizes that’s part of being a keeper so he learned to deal with it.
At the end of the day, he tried his best to give his team a chance to win and took whatever the fan base brought his way because he felt it came with the territory.
“They’re paying good money to come out and watch so they deserve to have a good product on the ice,” he said of the pressure-filled position that is a big part of why he’s passionate about the game.
Time will tell how he adjusts to life without hitting the road with his buddies, but he feels good about his decision. At least for now, knowing full well he might feel different once the season draws nearer and the hype starts to build about a new season.
“There comes a point in life where you have to make a hard decision and I don’t know if I’m going to regret it or not,” he said. “Right now I’m saying I’m not going to regret it but then again come November and December you don’t know how you’re going to feel when all the boys are playing and you’re not with them.
“I love hockey. It’s my sport and I’m going to miss it terribly obviously,” he added.
Looking back on his time with the Royals, Dyke has fond memories and had a lot of fun playing for his hometown.
“I played with all my buddies that I grew up with and we had a good laugh. We got to go on a couple of road trips and we did play some good hockey,” he said.
Dyke’s decision to hang up the goalie pads may leave the door open for one of the promising goaltenders waiting in the wings for a chance to prove their stock at the senior level — Scotty Walsh, who was an extra goalie for the team last year, and Corner Brook native Daniel McCarthy who provided stellar goaltending for the Western Kings in the run to the championship crown last winter — the first major midget hockey crown for Western since the 1996-97 season.