Since arriving in Calgary early in the 2016 season, Tyler Burton has been the main man in the faceoff circle for the Roughnecks, winning 229 draws over 18 games.
Burton was originally signed by the Rochester Knighthawks and spent parts of four seasons there, winning a pair of Champion’s Cups. After a year in with the Vancouver Stealth, a knee injury kept him off of a roster. Once healed, the Roughnecks took advantage and signed him to a contract. He’s been a steady contributor on defence and on the draw since joining the team.
We spoke with Burton about his start in lacrosse, his sticks, and more.
On his lacrosse mentor(s):
“I always grew up watching both the Carnegies play, so even though they’re only three and four years older than me, they’re two guys that I always looked up to. Hometown guys in London and they were around the same age as me, so I felt like I was able to do what they did.”
“Professionally, it didn’t happen until junior, he was one of my coaches; Ian Rubel. He was a great defender in the league for a long time and played on a couple teams. I had the opportunity to play with him in Rochester, so that was a pretty good experience for me.”
On how he got his start in lacrosse:
“I believe I started playing around 4 or 5 years old because my hockey coach told my dad that lacrosse was a great way to get hand-eye coordination. It was basically the same as hockey but it was a good way to keep up my conditioning and improve my hand-eye. I played two games of London house league and then I got called up to the competitive team my first year playing. I never looked back from there. I kept playing competitively in London and had a lot of fun doing it.”
On why he uses two sticks:
“I have one specifically just for face-offs and then I have two sticks that I play defence with, in case one breaks.”
“My face-off stick is very stiff, a very stiff head because I’m more of a power face-off guy. You’ll see some guys have very flimsy sticks on face-offs because they’re really quick. I’m more of a power guy, so I like the stiff stick so I can power through the other guys on the face-off. It’s a bit narrower at the top and a bit of a shorter shaft, too. My defensive sticks are also very stiff, but they’re pretty wide at the top for loose balls and have longer, heavier shafts.”
On his game day rituals or routines:
“Not really. I’m never been a superstitious person. So I do everything that I need to do before the games. I don’t eat a lot, so that’s a big thing for me. On game days I know it’s not the healthiest thing, but I don’t like to eat a lot on game days. So I’ll eat a big early lunch but that’s about it because I like to feel light out there.”
On this weekend’s double-header:
“It is tough, because we don’t do it a lot. It’s kind of a shock to the body because you have to play and then travel the whole day next day and play again. It’s going to take a lot of rest and you’ve got to be smart and do the right things during the week to prepare for it. Flights and stuff, you’ve just got to try and take the opportunity to sleep, rest and stretch when you can. I do a lot of stretches on the plane when we’re travelling. It keeps the body loose instead of stiffening up.”
On whether or not he is a fan of country music:
“I am a fan of country music. I grew up a fan of country. My grandparents were big country fans and whenever I was with them, they always had the country going and I guess that stuck with me. Lucky for me, there’s quite a few country concerts out here on the West Coast, so I get to go to a few of those. I’m actually going to see Eric Church coming up soon. I’m a big fan of country.”
“Also, my family is coming out to this weekend’s game, so I’ll get to spend time with them and they’re all big country fans.”
On which teammate is the biggest joker:
“That’s a tough one. We like to keep it light in the dressing room. Business is business and we’re there for business, but we all enjoy each others company and we’re a big family. I can’t really narrow it down to one guy, that’s hard for me. You’re probably hearing me laughing a lot in the dressing room. It’s more of a family thing, we’re pretty goofy guys. I don’t think I can give you one specific guy.”