Brady Lyle admits he is learning how to cope with the highs and lows of the game of hockey.
"I have learned there are going to be ups and downs and you just have to keep an even keel," Lyle told BayToday.
"I just have to try to stay focussed on the ultimate goal and that is rather than thinking that you are a 'hot shit' when things go your way and then being down in the dumps when things are not going your way.
"I have learned that both those things are the opposite of beneficial for your development and just kind of overall for your well-being and kind of mess with your head."
But the good news is the North Bay defenceman is riding on the high right now. He finished up his first year of professional hockey with the Providence Bruins netting six goals and 12 points in 19 contests in 2020-21 along with receiving a team player of the month award and team rookie of the year accolades.
See related: North Bay's Lyle signs with Bruins
See related: Brady Lyle breaking records in final year
In April, he was rewarded with a two-year, entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins; the Province Bruins NHL affiliate.
Lyle is hoping to be the first North Bay trained player to hit the ice for an NHL game since Craig Rivet a decade ago.
While local goaltenders like Colton Point (Texas Stars) and Kenny Appleby (Bridgeport Sound Tigers) are also close to getting to the NHL with their respective AHL teams, Lyle was unaware how long it has been since a player has skated during a NHL regular-season game.
"That is not something I really thought about but that would be really cool," said Lyle.
"It is interesting to see, obviously Colton and Kenny have had some success in the AHL and they are both really great guys and with Ben Gaudreau it looks like there is another goalie in the pipeline from North Bay but it is interesting there have not been many North Bay guys moving on past the OHL.
"It is interesting too that Craig is a player a bit similar to me; a right-shot defenceman, strong guy. He is a person I looked up to as a kid. I remember my dad telling me that Craig was from North Bay and I was blown away that he was playing in the NHL. I remember seeing his Team Canada 52 jersey hanging in Memorial Gardens and seeing the Rivet jersey there all the time so it would be really cool to follow in his footsteps. Obviously, it would be a different path than his but it would be awesome."
Appleby got into three games for the New Jersey Devils in 2017-18. Lyle hopes to get there soon too, but he knows it is a process.
"Obviously, I am hoping to play in the NHL and hopefully, that comes sooner rather than later but I think if I am more focussed on bettering myself then the people who are making the decisions where guys are playing will have their decision made for them with my hard work and hopefully I can improve to a level that they are comfortable with making that decision," he said.
While the 22-year-old's finish to the year was great, the start of the year came with a lot of uncertainty. Lyle was not sure he would be able to even play in the AHL in 2020-21 due to COVID-19, so he took the risk and started his season overseas playing pro in Slovakia with HC Detva on loan from Providence.
"I talked to our GM of the Providence Bruins at Christmas Lyle was concerned about the AHL season and if it was even going to take place due to COVID-19," admitted Lyle.
"They did not want me to have a wasted year so they said if I could find something in Europe they would loan me out there until the AHL season started but they would want me back here once it did start."
Lyle discussed the opportunity with his agent and his parents and chose to make the move which only lasted six games and three weeks.
"It was a pretty small city but I got to play a lot in the short time I was there," said the 2015 Battalion first round pick, who praises his grandpa John Lyle for all his support over the years.
"Everyone was super welcoming over there it was actually very interesting to see the culture of hockey and how people live over there in general."
"I was lucky there were a lot of English speaking Slovakians on my team. One of my coaches spoke really good english so I was able to make my way in feeling like I am part of the team even though I was only there for about six games and there for three weeks but it was a great experience. I got my feet wet playing pro before the AHL started. "
While the situation was very different than Providence, Lyle says one similarity was how helplful his teammates were on both squads as he tried to adapt to playing professional hockey.
He credited Bruins captain Paul Carey and defenceman Tommy Cross and Josiah Didier for rolling out the welcome mat in Providence.
"Tommy and Dids are both defencemen. Didier was actually hurt to start the year but he is an awesome guy and one of the nicest people I have ever met. He is always there to talk about stuff," said Lyle.
"Tommy was my D partner for close to half the games this year. He is an older guy. He is from the area, played some NHL games for Boston. Another super guy, he played similar to me so there was always stuff I could talk to him about.
"Paul Carey was our captain this year. Another awesome guy. He was kind of the glue of our whole team. Everyone kind of looked up to him I felt. Unfortunately, for us, he signed in Sweden so he is going over there."
However the work hasn't stopped during the off-season.
Lyle did get a nice break and travelled to Maui for his first vacation in years. Now he's been working hard in the off-season in Massachusetts working at Edge Performance Systems which is run by Brian McDonough, the New England Patriots strength and conditioning coach.
The North Bay product remains in the US, as he is currently attending the Boston Bruins Development Camp at the Warrior Ice Centre in Brighton, Massachusetts on Monday.