WHL Next Generation is a 23-part series highlighting a handful of the future stars of the Western Hockey League. From first-round bantam draft picks to later-blooming selections, get to know the names of players set to establish themselves as the newest crop of exciting talent to grace the WHL. From August 1 through August 31, get the inside scoop on the incoming rookie class of 2018-19.
Team: Victoria Royals
The Victoria Royals are looking to replace their all-time leader in almost every statistical category after losing over-ager Tyler Soy. While it is a tough feat, Tyus Gent may be the one to do it.
Gent was selected by Victoria in the fourth round of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft after posting 40 points (23G-17A) in 16 games with Delta hockey Academy Bantam Varsity 2. He impressed the following season, posting 25 goals in as many games and adding 25 assists for 50 points with the Delta Hockey Academy Elite 15s. That season he won the CSSHL E15 Most Goals, Most Points, and Most Valuable Player Awards.
“I think my success comes from the work I put in at practice and during the off-season,” said Gent. “I try to be the hardest working guy out there and lead by example and it has really improved my game. My previous coaches and trainers are obviously a huge help as well in pushing me in the right direction.”
After posting four points in three playoff games with the Elite 15’s, Gent joined Delta Hockey Academy Prep, where he scored two goals and added an assist before posting four points (2G-2A) in one playoff appearance.
“The compete level really increases in the playoffs because that is when it really counts,” explained Gent. “Everybody wants to win the championship, it’s every teams goal at the start of the season. When you get so close and you can see yourself hoisting it, that is when I think I play my best, that is the only thing on my mind and I will do whatever it takes to help my team get there.”
Last season was another successful one for the Royals prospect, who posted 45 points (21G-24A) in 29 games, and again added four points (1G-3A) in four playoff games.
“I thought last season in Delta [Hockey Academy Prep] went really well,” stated Gent. “We started off really strong and our team really gelled together. My last three years with Delta have all been really great. As an individual I think I started off strong as well and felt that I played well throughout the season. In playoffs we unfortunately lost in the semi-finals but all around I thought it was a good year.”
Midway through his season with Delta, Gent got the call up to play for the Royals. His first game against the future WHL Champion Swift Current Broncos.
“The nerves were definitely building up inside,” Gent said on jumping on the ice for the first time. “When I got on the ice things slowed down and I could get into the routine of it. It’s intimidating because you jump on the ice and there are men with full bears. I was used to playing against 16 and 17-year-olds and because it was the Broncos and they were building for a long playoff run they had mostly 19-year-olds. But it was a good experience and I really enjoyed it.”
It didn’t take long for Gent to get accustomed as he notched an assist in his third game in the WHL against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
“I was forechecking and took the puck off one of the defencemen. I passed it to Tarun Fizer and he passed it to Dante Hannoun who shot it in. It was a big goal as we were down three nothing and were trying to spark a comeback. Unfortunately, we still lost but it felt good to finally get on the scoresheet.”
“Hearing them announce my name for the assist was something I won’t forget. It was pretty cool, and I hope I get to hear it a lot more over the coming seasons, although hopefully in Victoria so there is some cheering along with it.”
The Delta, BC product is hoping to get a full-time job with the Royals this coming season and is excited to get back to Victoria for training camp.
“I’m excited to get back and gel with the guys there,” said the center. “I’m also excited to show off the hard work that I’ve put in over the last year and prove myself.”
This offseason has been busy for Gent, who has been training hard in preparation for the camp in mid-August.
“I’ve been in the gym five days a week building muscle and working on my speed and have been on the ice a lot working on my skating. I have also been conditioning for the long season in the WHL to make sure I am ready for training camp and am ready to play all  games.”
While business has already started for Gent, the Royals prospect has been enjoying his summer, spending it with friends and enjoying every moment of it.
“I’ve been hanging out with friends, going to the beach and catching some sun. I’m in Osoyoos right now and it’s been really nice so I’m just enjoying my short vacation before the work starts again.”
The work begins for Gent in mid to late August when the Royals host their development camp. And it continues through to the kickoff of the Royals pre-season when they visit the Kelowna Rockets on Friday August 31st at 7:05 PDT at Prospera Place in Kelowna B.C.
What is your favorite movie?
All three of the Lord of The Rings
What is a hobby of yours that most people don’t know about?
I play the piano, which not many people know about me
Is there a song you could sing solely based off memory with no music or lyrics?
Almost any song by Logic I could probably do.
What is a trend/fad that you hope makes a comeback?
The Mannequin Challenge
Who was your favorite hockey player to watch growing up?
Patrick Kane, his speed with the puck and is vision are unreal