ECHL: Reading Royals: A Talk With Tag Bertuzzi

Bertuzzi. Just by the sounds of it, it’s a hockey name. Todd Bertuzzi, a former NHL player, and Tyler Bertuzzi, a current NHL player. Another Bertuzzi is working his way up the ranks, Tag Bertuzzi. If you followed the OHL in any capacity, you would have likely followed Tag.

Overcoming Injury

Bertuzzi had his fair share of injuries including a concussion, forearm injury, and hip flexor injury. He speaks about overcoming those injuries and keeping himself healthy afterward to keep playing the game.

“It’s just a bit of a process. Obviously, you don’t wanna get injured, but you just gotta try to keep your body healthy the best ways you can. Find different things in the summertime to see what works for you, and just become more athletic. Just do little things you haven’t done before. Just try to keep your body healthy throughout the year.

Hockey Buds

Bertuzzi has played with a fair amount of players throughout his career but he spent time on the ice with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Defenseman Dmitri Samorukov, New Jersey Devils Goaltender Nico Daws, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Right Winger Avery Hayes.

“They are very talented players. You see it in practice everyday. It’s a lot of fun to see the potential in those guys at a young age. To see what they are doing now, it’s pretty cool.”

Carolina Rookie Camp

When OHL player Colton Smith became injured, the Carolina Hurricanes called Bertuzzi in to take his spot during the Rookie Showcase this past September.

“I got a quick call by my agent a couple of days before I was going down in the city and have an opportunity to go to the Rookie Camp. I just went there and looked for an opportunity and just try to get different eyes on you in different situations, and just go there and have fun. So it was fun to be in a position like that.

Trading Away

Being on 3 teams in two seasons does not come easy for any player, but to chase the dream, you have to do what it takes. Bertuzzi has been on Norfolk Admirals, Tulsa Oilers, and now calls the Reading Royals home.

“It’s pro hockey. It’s a business. Getting traded is just a part of the game. Every place I went to, I got good opportunities. So I’m very thankful for that. They are all 3 great organizations. It’s been fun to play under them. I’m happy to be here [Reading], And I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

Family Matters

Bertuzzi is a pretty popular last name in the NHL with Toronto Maple Leafs Forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who Tag is the cousin of. Bertuzzi also is the son of Todd Bertuzzi, who played for New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings during the length of his career.

I’ve grown up around the game since i was 1 year old. I’ve seen the ins and outs from my dad. It’s been a tremendous opportunity for me, and he enjoys helping me out every single day. Everyday habits, how to be a pro off the ice, what to do on the ice. After every game, he tells me what i did right and what i did wrong. I’ve been very blessed to have that opportunity.

Off Ice Mind

It is important for anyone to separate their mind from their job. It’s essential in taking care of ones self. Most players have hobbies and things they do outside of the rink in order to take care of business on the ice.

“Luckily, I have two good roommates in Guysy [Brayden Guy] and Chyzer [Ryan Chyzowski]. So we have fun at home. We play a lot of video games. Just manage to do a bunch of weird stuff at the house. So we make it work. We have a lot of fun.”

In Game Mindset

Going into games with a fresh mind and outlook is important for every player. Every opponent is different in their weaknesses and their strengths.

“Every game is a little bit different. Sometimes you more fresher than other games. For me, it’s worrying about what I control, winning face offs, playing good in the d-zone, finishing checks, getting shots on goal. Things that I can do in my control to help the team and help my linemates be the best that you can every night.”

Learning Lessons

In order to grow as person, you have to learn lessons and apply them to one’s life moving forward. For Bertuzzi, moving on quick is key.

“I think you just gotta move on quick. I think don’t dwell in the past and keep a positive mind set. You can’t dwell on the negative things because that’s just gonna ruin your game and ruin what happens next. You gotta stay positive and realize that there’s always next shift, next game. Work as hard as you can and don’t take anything for granted.”

Summer Training Regimen

Off season training is key to making any player better and stronger on the ice for the next season. It also helps to open up what they can work on and apply to the upcoming season ahead.

“I power skate with this lady named Kim Muir at home. I skate in a couple of scrimmages. I like to skate around five to six times a week. I work out with my dad everyday, and just golf as much as I can.”

Strengths and Weaknesses

Every player has strengths on the ice that are evident, and weaknesses that they feel they can work. Bertuzzi elaborates on what his strengths and weaknesses are.

“I think my strength, is my offensive ability, and the way I think the game. I can pass and shoot well. My struggles have been defensively. Not stopping on pucks and puck washing a little bit. So setting that up will help us in the future”

Coach Dad

Every player has that one coach. The one coach that has pushed them throughout their career and time with them. For Bertuzzi, it was his father Todd that pushes him to continuously do his best on and off the ice.

“My dad. He coached me before junior hockey. So it was fun having that opportunity and having him show me the ways before I went to junior.”

Accomplishment

Representing a players home country is an achievement most want to get to in their lifetime and for Bertuzzi, it was no different.

“Playing for Team Canada in the U17. Getting to represent your country is always a pretty cool experience.”

During this season Bertuzzi has tallied 7 goals and 8 assists between being with Tulsa Oilers and Reading Royals.

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