(Photo Credit: LSSU Athletics)
Alabama Huntsville Hockey center Tyrone Bronte is relatively unique to Men’s College Hockey. He hails from Melbourne, Australia and is one of the few players from down under to play at the Division One level.
With that said, his story of how he got to Huntsville given the unique circumstances of the program, combined with just coming to America this fall make it more exceptional. Through all that Fiona and Paul, his parents have sacrificed and gone through for Tyrone and his brother Declan to play ice hockey, Tyrone, like a lot of hockey players we know, is incredibly humble and happy to be where he is. in fact, he is so humble, he did not even realized he was named the Hockey Commissioner’s Association Rookie of the Month that he did not even know what the award was at first. It took some of his teammates saying congratulations twice for him to get that he was WCHA and National Rookie of the Month, which he first learned about on twitter. Bronte also takes that humility off the ice as well. When asked which of the eight Chargers that play Fortnite is the best, he deferred to his roommate, and NAHL teammate, Adrian Danchenko.
Tyrone’s upbringing around the game we go, ice hockey in Melbourne is not very common, and his parents worked hard to get him and Declan involved in many sports growing up. Around the time Tyrone was seven, he and his brother received roller skates on Christmas Eve, and his family went roller skating and got to a skate park the next day. He soon saw people playing roller hockey, was asked to join, and he did. He worked his way up over time, before making the natural jump to ice hockey. Bronte worked his way up in roller and ice hockey and kept being asked to play at the next level, including playing for his country.
He did play three games for the Omaha Lancers two seasons ago, but has spent most of his past two seasons in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights organization in the North American Hockey League where he met Danchenko. During that time he put up 116 points in 155 games and finished his junior career leading the Knights as their Captain.
Bronte’s story of how he got to Huntsville is all too uncommon. To start, he did not even have the Chargers on his radar when the program was cut before being reinstated. He started following the #SaveUAHhockey campaign “purely out of hoping my friend (Danchenko) had a place to play.” As more of the original class went elsewhere after the folding and reinstatement of the program, more spots opened up. Head Coach Lance West then proceeded to call Bronte at the beginning of June without ever seeing him play in person. He noted that the staff likes the speed he plays with, but that to earn a spot in the lineup that he would have to show his skills as a Charger. He was offered fairly quickly and both sides took a leap of faith. The first four games, where Bronte is playing as a point-per-game player shows how correct both sides were. His speed with the puck and ability to generate instant offense is essential to the long-term success of this group.
All of that effort was just to get Bronte an offer and a spot on a Division One Team. Fast forward to about the time where school was starting, and the Melbourne native was in Melbourne waiting to get an interview at the US Consulate to get an interview to come over. He was looking at starting in the winter due to the long wait time for his Visa interview at the Consulate because it was closed. However, special exemptions for athletes were allowed, and because of that Tyrone got his interview and was planning to leave the next week for the start of American University. A week later, he had not received his passport with his visa, and the day of his flight was at hand. His family and him went to a processing center where his passport was. He found it in the sprawling shipping complex with some help, and got on the plane to Huntsville that day.
Since coming to Huntsville, Tyrone has come to like the area quite a lot. He complimented the look of the entire city, especially the downtown area around the Von Braun Center, and campus. Bronte stressed throughout this interview how happy and fortunate he considers himself to be a member of the Herd, and how much his parents have done to get him here.
He noted that his parents have not gotten to see him play in person very much, and hopes to be able to play in the Australian Ice Hockey League this summer for his hometown Melbourne Ice. That is really the only place he can train over the summer at home, and the only way for him to get competitive games in. If he can get clarity as to an amateur status of the league from the NCAA he will suit up again for the Ice, pending review from the NCAA.
His brother Declan is a couple years younger than him and has 8 points in 12 games for the Connecticut Chiefs of the EHL. There is an outside chance the two could play together or against each other in a few years. As to that Tyron and Declan playing together, the best chance of that is with the Ice if allowed. Tyrone noted that his mom Fiona would probably not be able to stop herself from crying if the two could play together in front of them. As it is, both of his parents watch when they can on FloHockey, with Tyrone’s dad Paul offering some occasional feedback to him from the other side of the world. Bronte laughed mentioning this, because his parents have limited viewing of hockey. Both his parents and his brother are proud of Tyrone’s ability to maintain that humility on the rollercoaster of a year he has had.
Going forward relating to the Chargers’ projected finish in the WCHA Bronte simply had this to say, “we’re going to surprise some people.”
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