Sylvania native Tyler Pilmore spent countless hours as a youngster skating and shooting at the ice-cold rinks of Tam-O-Shanter, dreaming some day of playing professional hockey.
Now at age 24, Pilmore’s ambitions took another stride — in storybook fashion. The forward signed with the hometown Toledo Walleye on Thursday.
“It’s just an amazing feeling,” Pilmore said. “Hockey has always been my passion. There is just something about the game I’ve always loved. I have a lot of people to thank for this. I couldn’t be more excited, and I’m looking forward to playing for my hometown team.”
Pilmore played one season at Northview High School and went on to post a stellar four-year college career at Ohio University.
Pilmore made his pro debut in Toledo earlier this year. He was signed by the Wheeling of the ECHL and played against the Walleye on March 16 at Huntington Center.
“It was definitely cool because I had a lot of family get to see me play my first pro game,” Pilmore said. “That whole game I ran on adrenaline. It was a great moment and something I will always remember. No words can describe making my pro debut in my home rink.”
Pilmore actually skated in two games for the Walleye late last season. After being claimed off of waivers, Pilmore did not register a point but had a shot in each road game.
Pilmore finished his career as the leading scorer in Ohio University hockey history with 227 points.
Ohio University plays in the top division of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, which is not affiliated with the NCAA.
Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said Pilmore caught his eye at the team’s free agent camp last August. Vitucci invited Pilmore to Toledo’s main camp before Pilmore returned to college.
“We saw the work effort of Tyler,” Vitucci said. “He has good skill and skating ability, and he owns a flair for offense.”
Pilmore finished with the most career assists at OU with 161. He also finished with 66 career goals. Pilmore served a captain last year for the Bobcats, recording 14 goals and 44 assists.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound forward played travel hockey while growing up in Sylvania, where he moved when he was in the seventh grade. As a sophomore at Northview, Pilmore played for the Wildcats, then opted to play travel hockey as a junior and senior.
Pilmore grew up in Adrian, Mich., before moving to Lyons, Ohio, in rural Fulton County when he was 8. He said Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania was like a second home.
“It’s been a lot of work and I’ve had a lot of people help me along the way, especially my parents. They sacrificed financially and with their time,” he said.
Pilmore also credited former Toledo Storm forward Nick Parillo, who runs clinics at Tam-O-Shanter, for his development.
Pilmore appeared in six games with the Nailers but has yet to register a point as a professional.
Pilmore said a connection with a Wheeling assistant coach led to his last-minute signing in March. He said the Nailers were short two forwards for their game against Toledo and the Wheeling coach knew he was from the area.
“I got a call about noon down in Athens on that Saturday, and I drove right up,” he said. “It was definitely a break. I got a little lucky.”
Pilmore said he attended the Walleye free agent camp last summer to get on the radar of scouts.
“I just wanted to get my name out there,” he said. “I wanted to see where I stood.”
Although Pilmore opened some eyes, he said he was intent on completing his senior season at Ohio. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“I always wanted to get my degree because I know there will be a point where hockey won’t be my job anymore,” he said.
Pilmore said he will bring energy and will be a defensive-minded forward for the Walleye.
“My role will be different than in college,” he said. “I know what I need to do to help the team win. This is a big step for me. My ultimate goal is to do the most I can with what I have and to continue to improve as a player.”
Contact Mark Monroe at:
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