Sylvan Lake celebrates local golden boy Tyler Steenbergen
'He’s just an awesome person, he was an awesome kid and he’s grown into an awesome man'
There's a new item on the menu at the ice rink in Sylvan Lake, Alta. — the Steen-burger.
Made with lettuce, double bacon and ketchup, it's a nod to hometown hero Tyler Steenbergen, who scored the game-winning goal in Friday's final at the world junior hockey championships in Buffalo, N.Y.
"This is one of the defining moments that brings the community together," said Graham Parsons, who runs the Sylvan Lake Hockey School north of Calgary, where Steenbergen works in the summer and continues to train.
"Everybody is talking about it, everybody knows exactly what happened. It's one of those moments, a Sylvan Laker will remember what happened and where they were when that happened."
A product of Sylvan Lake minor hockey, the now 20-year-old Steenbergen (his birthday is on Sunday) played bantam and midget hockey in Red Deer before being drafted by the Swift Current Broncos, where he currently plays junior — and where the Steen-burger was also introduced earlier this season.
Ranked as Canada's 13th forward for most of the world junior tournament, Steenbergen made enough of an impression on head coach Dominique Ducharme to be leaned on in the final.
"He had some jump in his skating tonight, so I used him a little bit more," Ducharme said after the game.
"We all know what kind of goal scorer he is so he only needed one chance. He had it and didn't miss it."
It's that work ethic and tenacity that set Steenbergen apart while growing up, said Parsons.
"He's just an awesome person, he was an awesome kid and he's grown into an awesome man," he said.
"There isn't anybody in the world who has anything bad to say about him, they all love him and rightfully so, he's that type of kid."
That work ethic was on display this past summer, said Parsons, as Steenbergen worked as an instructor for six weeks at the hockey camps, all while training to make the world junior squad — and preparing for his first pro camp with the Arizona Coyotes.
"It's just his nature, he's got awesome roots," said Parsons.
Steenbergen is also a role model for youth players in Sylvan Lake.
"Hard working and lots of heart," said nine-year-old Lachlan Murray when asked to describe his new hockey hero.
Steenbergen was one of seven Albertans to skate for Team Canada this year, including:
With files from Terri Trembath