by Chris Moore
Throughout a season of highs and lows for the Toronto Marlies’ defense corps, no one has endured a year similar to that of second-year defenseman Tyson Marsh.
After suffering a painful abdominal injury late last summer the Quesnel, B.C., native was forced to miss the first 65 games of the team’s inaugural season in Toronto.
Despite participating in many of the team’s off-ice events throughout the first three-quarters of the season, Marsh only donned the team’s blue and white jersey for the first time on Mar. 18 at Grand Rapids.
Twelve games later, Marsh is already being heavily relied upon to provide leadership on the back end.
This may seem odd considering the fact that Marsh is still considered an American Hockey League rookie, but with regulars Brendan Bell out due to injury and Ian White on recall with the Maple Leafs, Marsh was the third most-experienced blueliner when the team defeated Milwaukee on Mar. 26 at Ricoh Coliseum.
On a team that began the season with five experienced defensemen in Marc Moro, Brad Brown, Carlo Colaiacovo, Jay Harrison and Bell, it appeared that Marsh would be destined for the ECHL’s Pensacola Ice Pilots upon recovery from injury.
With both the Maple Leafs and Marlies having suffered a rash of injuries late in their seasons, Marsh will be thrust into the spotlight earlier then even he probably imagined. For someone who only really began to participate in full team practices in early March, he appears ready and able to relish that role.
Marsh is no stranger to playing in a team’s inaugural campaign. He had an assist on the first goal in the Vancouver Giants’ WHL history in 2001. The experience of playing on a new team in a community served Marsh well as he recovered from injury throughout the first few months of this season. Despite not being able to play in any games, Marsh was a regular presence at community events and at post-game player autograph signings.
While not one of the most vocal players, his positive outlook and attitude in face of adversity are certain to be a source of inspiration as the team prepares for its first foray into AHL playoff competition.
Undoubtedly, Marlies fans will agree that if the team’s on-ice dedication matches that of Tyson’s while off it, there will be plenty of reason to cheer throughout the spring in the Marlies playoff run.