Kukla's Korner

Above the Glass

Hello St. Louis, Meet Ty Rattie

About a week ago, the St. Louis Blues finally had the good sense to sign Portland Winterhawk Ty Rattie to a three-year entry level contract. Chosen 32nd overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Ty is a high-scoring forward you might want to start paying attention to now, if you’ve not already done so. He’s pretty handy with a hat trick, Teddy Bear Toss goals and arcade games. And he puts teammates first, always. Just don’t ask him to make you a snow cone.

Picnic time for teddy bears. Two of my very favorite goals ever scored by a Winterhawk both came from Ty, with a little help in one case from his linemate Sven Bartschi. In 2010, Ty capped off an already stellar year by scoring the Teddy Bear Toss goal. He got a little help from Sven, who told me afterwards that he knew Ty would score it, because “I could feel it. This is how it is with big moments like this.” He then proceeded to tell Ty “you have to score right now.” Ty did as he was instructed and down came a gazillion bears. He repeated the feat this year, making him the current reigning teddy bear goal champion. Of course, he might want to leave the psychic goal-scoring predictions to his Swiss linemate. When I asked Ty whether he thought he’d repeat the feat this year, he predicted instead that Joey Baker would score it. He was close: Joey scored his first WHL goal in that game, which was the team’s 7th and final goal in a 7-1 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds. 

He likes scoring the game winning goal in OT during playoffs. In the first round of the playoffs in 2010 (his rookie year), Ty cemented his place in Winterhawks history by scoring the game winning goal in overtime against the Spokane Chiefs. It sent the Winterhawks into the second round of the playoffs, where they were making an appearance for the first time in four years. This year, he outdid himself by scoring both the game tying and game winning goals in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, leading the team to a 5-4 win over the Tri-City Americans. The Winterhawks went on to sweep the Ams and take the Western Conference title for the second year in a row.

He likes scoring, period. You can read the highlights here. A good majority of those points were earned doing this:

Around these parts, we just call it a Rat-Trick. Or Rattie with the Hattie. Either way, really. His name is custom built for it, after all. By December 30, 2011, Ty had already scored three hat tricks. He went on to score one more during the regular season. He repeated the feat during the playoffs, when he scored his first career playoff hat trick in Game 1 of the first round against the Kelowna Rockets. The above named game winner against the Ams was also shorthanded and yet another Rat Trick goal. Feel free to come up with your own crafty name for his feats of derring-do, as I’m sure there are many more to come. 

Vote for Ty. The Portland Winterhawks, being teenage boys with a curfew and very little free time, all tuned in religiously to The Bachelor this season. The all-around consensus was that Emily should have won and everyone hated Courtney B. It was also unanimous that The Bachelor was a mutt and a poor judge of character. So upset were they that Ty nominated himself for the next round, largely because he’d have the good sense pick the nice girl (Emily). So I say we start a “Vote for Ty” campaign similar to “Vote for Pedro” from Napoleon Dynamite. I mean, really, a little email campaign to ABC never hurt anyone. 

Just say no. Even the best players have to face adversity on the road to greatness. And that Ty did, along with Joe Morrow and Brad Ross, when all three were cut from Team Canada’s World Junior team on the last day of tryouts, with a phone call at 6 a.m. You can see from the above listed accomplishments what he did in the “I’ll show you” aftermath. Ty is still a bit small for the NHL, so it’s likely at 19 he may come back to Portland this season. If so, I certainly hope for their sake that Team Canada does not make the same mistake twice.

It’s all about them. When I first interviewed Ty last season, just for fun I flat out asked him, “so, what’s it like to be awesome?” It took three more questions before he realized I was talking about him personally. He had assumed I was talking about his teammates. So three guesses as to who gets the credit for helping him score all those hat tricks. I could go on, but you get the idea. Ty may have some physical growing to do before he’s ready for the NHL, but when it comes to the intangibles that aren’t in a playbook or on a scale, he’s already more than prepared.

Free snow cones all around. Ty and Sven were also roommates this year. Among their off-ice achievements, they acquired a vintage snow cone machine. It was paid for with tickets they got from playing way too many arcade games. When last we heard it was sitting unused at their billets’ home, and players who had contributed to their winning of it have yet to see a free snow cone. If by chance Ty should take it with him to St. Louis, may I suggest someone show him how to turn it on and use it? His teammates and friends will thank you for it. And I thank you in advance for your assistance with this important matter.

He believes in the 7th man. That’s what Ty calls Portland fans. In a sold out Rose Garden, there are 10,947 of us and we are very loud. Even the Edmonton Oil Kings told the press they’d never seen or heard anything like us. Ty told the local media that fans should keep coming out and the Winterhawks will keep winning for us. And that they did, until falling in a heartbreaking Game 7 that lost the WHL title to the Oil Kings. But that doesn’t take away from all the things that Ty achieved this season, nor does it take away from what he’ll do for the Blues when he finally cracks their roster.

So, St. Louis, here is my advice to you: When he’s flying high and playing at his all-time, most confident, Ty is unstoppable. But the very best part is that behind the great Rat-Tricks and the great plays and assists is an even better person. Wise beyond his years and always well-spoken, the 32nd overall pick was a wise choice for a Blues team on the rise. I’m not sure if you’ll ever get a snow cone out of him, but I do know that you will get a lot of goals, a team player and one of the most prized of all of Portland’s draft possessions. We may end up keeping him another season. If we do, we promise to treat as we always have: with great care, much love and the utmost respect. I hope you’ll do the same when he comes your way.

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I’m sorry, but this writing is pretty bad. It reeks of amateur.

Posted by TDot on 06/11/12 at 11:29 AM ET

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com