AHL All-Star Preview – TJ Tynan to represent Ontario Reign in Laval, Quebec

Ontario Reign captain TJ Tynan has had quite the month. When 2023 began, the first line center was leading the team in scoring, as expected, but he hadn’t produced the eye-popping numbers we saw in his first season with Ontario when he repeated as the AHL’s Most Valuable Player with 98 points, the highest total for any skater over a full AHL season in the last 15 years, and 84 assists, the third-most in the history of the league.

On New Year’s Day, Tynan had 28 points through the Reign’s first 27 games. While nothing to sneeze at, his scoring total wasn’t in the top-25 of the league. But over the course of the past 32 days, all of that has changed.

The 30-year-old spent the month of January racking up 25 points in 14 games on three goals and 22 assists, earning his first AHL Player of the Month award. He recorded multiple points in eight of those games, including a pair of four-assist nights, to become the first AHL player to record 25 points in a month since December of 2016. Those scoring numbers of course helped Ontario in the standings as well, with the team finishing 8-5-1 in the first month of 2023, and Tynan entered February as the No. 2 scorer in the league with 53 points.

Back on January 11, Tynan was selected for the league’s All-Star Classic in Laval, Quebec, where it’s being held this week for the first time since 2020 when it was played in Ontario. Tynan was also part of the event in Ontario, as well as 2018 in Utica and 2016 in Syracuse.

“It’s a great honor,” Tynan said after hearing the news from his head coach, Marco Sturm. “It’s just a testament to my teammates and the guys around me. I get to play with a lot of talented guys every day in games and in practice.”

With a goal and an assist Saturday night against Tucson in Ontario’s first win of February, the team’s last game before the league’s All-Star break, Tynan reached another impressive milestone by recording his 500th career AHL point. He was immediately recognized by the crowd on hand at Toyota Arena for this achievement.

“The crowd was amazing,” Reign assistant coach Chris Hajt said after the game. “That was definitely a special moment in the arena and in general I think everyone will remember that. Obviously TJ is a heck of a player and has had a great career and we’re lucky to have him. Hopefully he has a great All-Star Game and shows everybody who he is and how much we depend on him.”

Beginning this afternoon, the Orland Park, Illinois native will participate in both the 2023 RONA AHL All-Star Skills Competition, which starts at 3 p.m. PST and Monday’s AHL All-Star Challenge at 4 p.m. PST.

The Skills Competition will match up skaters from the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference, and Tynan is expected to partake in three events.

First, in Sunday’s Event 1, Tynan will go head-to-head with Syracuse’s Alex Barré-Boulet in the Inglasco Puck Control Relay. The matchup is fitting, as the two have been going back and forth in the league’s overall scoring rankings recently. Currently, Tynan is just ahead of Barré-Boulet with 55 points overall this season, while the Syracuse center has 54 on 15 goals and 39 assists. The winning player will earn one “goal” for their conference team.

Later in Event 6, the RONA Pass and Score competition, Tynan will team up with Brian Lashoff of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Thomas Bordeleau of the San Jose Barracuda to try and beat goaltender Joseph Woll of the Toronto Marlies.

Finally, the Reign captain will line up for Round #1 of Event 7, the Upper Deck Breakaway Relay, alongside Matthew Phillips of the Calgary Wranglers, Brayden Pachal of the Henderson Silver Knights, Thomas Harley of the Texas Stars and David Gust of the Rockford IceHogs, who also hails from the same Chicago suburb of Orland Park, against Springfield Thunderbirds’ netminder Joel Hofer. That event will have eight rounds, with each individual goal scored counting toward the overall team score.

Tynan will then compete for the Pacific Division in Monday’s All-Star Challenge, which has a similar format to what we saw during the AHL All-Star Game on Saturday. Teams representing the four league divisions will compete in a 3-on-3 round-robin tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship, a six-minute, 3-on-3 game.

Both days of the event in Laval will air to a national television audience on NHL Network in the United States and TSN and RDS in Canada. AHLTV will also be offering a free video stream of both nights of the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic to AHL fans worldwide.

Always Time For a Reign Check
After he received the Player of the Month honor, Tynan joined Josh Schaefer and myself for an appearance on The Reign Check podcast earlier this week.

Topics discussed include Tynan’s ranking of some of Ontario’s specialty jerseys this season, as well as his recent hot play and the upcoming AHL All-Star Classic.

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