So many reasons to head to Beach
So-called 'bad boy' of junior hockey could prove irresistible in NHL draft
Jason Botchford, The Province
Published: Sunday, June 15, 2008
Kelowna's Kyle Beach is volatile, controversial and something of an enigma to those who don't know him.
He is generating heaps of national press, none of it glowing. It has helped fuel a mystique that seems to be giving NHL general managers cold feet days before the draft. It's enough to leave Canuck fans -- and the Vancouver media -- pondering this question, leading up to the NHL draft:
How can Canucks GM Mike Gillis, who has vowed to go after players with "character, integrity and intelligence," pick the bad boy of junior hockey, should Beach slip and be available to Vancouver at No. 10 overall?
Kyle Beach wasn't in the mood for smiling while posing for a headshot during the NHL Combine in Toronto last month.
Claus Andersen, Getty Images
A better question, according to those who know the Everett Silvertips star best, is:
How can they not?
"Whoever takes Kyle Beach is going to look like a genius," Silvertips head coach John Becanic said. "He is unique. There is no one like him in this draft and there will be no one like him in next year's. Any NHL general manager will tell you that. No one brings what he brings. In two years, he had 28 fighting majors, 400 penalty minutes and more than 120 points."
There's a reason 28 of 30 teams have interviewed the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Beach, including the Canucks who sent scouts Ron Delorme and Harold Snepsts to meet with Beach a couple of weeks ago. They were on a mission to get under Beach's skin to separate truth from myth in search of "character, integrity and intelligence."
In Beach, they may have found some things that surprised them.
"He is by far the brightest player I've coached in 23 years," Becanic said. "He is ridiculously bright. He sees the game not only as a player, but as a coach. His intelligence almost hurts him in junior because he sees the game so much faster than everyone else. I think anyone who spends any time with him is astounded at how bright he is."
But almost every story on Beach mentions his perceived lack of maturity and his wild attitude. He is often depicted as player who will almost certainly give pro coaches sleepless nights and lasting migraines.
"He is actually a coach's dream," Becanic said. "You will never have to get Beach to perform. He has never been late, never questioned me and never raised his voice. He has never so much as raised an eyebrow to me in more than two years. He has been nothing but respectful.
"To me, a guy who doesn't have character is a guy who won't play injured, who won't give it his all. That's not Kyle. In a nothing game recently Kyle took a puck to his face, broke his cheekbone and his nose. He missed just two shifts.
"When people question his character I don't think they understand him. His only issue is his inability to control his emotions on the ice at particular times. He is not a choir boy. And does his on-ice play sometimes get my blood boiling? Oh yeah. But to me, that's not because of a lack of character."
Beach would love to play with the Canucks, his hometown's team.
"Where they are picking is right where a lot of people think I will go," Beach said. "It's an exciting time. I grew up my whole life watching the Canucks. To get a chance to play with them would be a great honour."
Beach makes no apologies for his play, which is, to some, crazy, cavalier, undisciplined, irritating. To others, he is an impressively fearless, highly skilled power forward destined to play on a No. 1 line in the NHL.
"Lots of teams love the way I play and they also love the negative media I'm getting because they're hoping it will help me slip to where they are," Beach said. "If teams didn't like it, I don't think so many teams would be talking to me."
© The Vancouver Province 2008