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October 30, 2014

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Take Five: Tyler Mosienko

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Steve Marcus

Las Vegas Wranglers center Tyler Mosienko, at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, is one of the smallest players on the team, but he’s also one of the hardest workers.

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  • Mosienko talks about how he dishes it out against opponents bigger than himself.
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  • Mosienko discusses whether playoff opponents have interpreted his small size for weakness.
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  • Tyler Mosienko describes how he pushes himself to improve
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TYLER MOSIENKO FILE

Age: 24

Hometown: West St. Paul, Manitoba

Height: 5 feet 8 inches

Weight: 175 pounds

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Pedigree: Grandfather Bill, known as “Wee Willie” for his 5-8, 150-pound frame, played 14 seasons during a Hall of Fame career for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Hobbies: Golf and guitar playing, mostly in the acoustic, soft-rock style of Hawaiian-born Jack Johnson.

The pocket rocket of the Las Vegas Wranglers has been pushed around the ice in the playoffs.

As usual, though, 5-foot-8, 175-pound center Tyler Mosienko has been pushing back.

“Being a small guy, they go after you,” he says. “They don’t take you for granted. They punish you a little extra. I’ve had that all my life. I’m used to that. I can deal with that.

“No big deal.”

The pocket rocket of the Wranglers has been a very big deal to his team, a direct result of the time he devotes to the sport.

Long after his teammates have left either the Orleans Arena or Las Vegas Ice Center, Mosienko remains, still working on moves, stick-handling, shots. Then he runs stairs.

The other day, when practice ended, Wranglers skated toward center ice, where they stretched. Mosienko took feeds from someone and kept slapping shots into the net as his teammates, stretching, watched.

“I have to work a little bit harder than everyone else,” he says, “just to get a little bit better and, hopefully, make it to the NHL one day.”

1. Pops

Brian Mosienko set a blue-collar tone in his son at an early age. He’d rise early and tend to his bowling alley in Winnipeg for 15 hours a day. He ran the place for more than 40 years and sold it a year ago. “Working hard comes from my family,” Tyler Mosienko says. “My dad worked for everything he had. I enjoy working. I love every bit of it.”

2. Criticism

Reporters, coaches and other critics have always told Mosienko he wouldn’t make it, that he should quit the game. He wants to prove them wrong. “And prove something to myself,” he says. “I wasn’t blessed with my small size, but I’ll just make up for it in work and talent.”

3. Take that

He says foes still call him names. He heard “little midget” in a recent game. He laughed. If that’s the best thing you can come up with. He routinely smacks players 7 or 8 inches taller than he into the boards. “You stand up for yourself,” Mosienko says. “You have to dish it out. I’m a pretty strong guy, so I can make the other team pay a little bit as well.”

4. Production

Mosienko had 14 points in the first two rounds of the playoffs, second to Peter Ferraro’s 17, which led the Wranglers. Mosienko gave the Stockton Thunder nightmares. In three seasons as a professional, he has increased his production from 47 points to 52, and 59 this past season.

5. A title

Mosienko won a Western Hockey League championship in his last season of junior hockey, in 2004-05, with the Kelowna Rockets. “The Memorial Cup,” he says. “Once you get that under your belt, that’s all you want to do — win all the time. We’re healthy and confident, and things are going pretty good right now.”

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