Litchfield Park native, longtime Arizona youth hockey standout Ortega off to USPHL’s Mullets
Growing up in Arizona, Tyler Ortega spent time playing for a multitude of youth hockey associations, including DYHA, the Jr. Coyotes and the Arizona Bobcats.
He also played his senior year of high school at Sandra Day O’Connor.
For the upcoming 2021-22 season, the Litchfield Park native is leaving the desert to start his junior hockey career with the USPHL’s Minnesota Mullets.
“The opportunity to sign with the Mullets came through my Bobcats coach Rob Kerns connecting me with Coach (Chris) Walby,” Ortega said. “After some great phone calls with Coach Walby, I ultimately decided to sign with the Mullets. The Mullets appealed to me because Coach Walby runs a very good program with a family atmosphere. I like that he takes pride in us getting to the next level of hockey and to have opportunities to play college hockey and further our education.
“I think it means a lot to know that both the team and league are in sync and working together with opportunities to move players on to college.”
Ortega will be joining fellow Arizona natives Brent Scott and Dylan Gunnare with the Mullets this season.
“It’s going to be fun this season,” said Ortega. “Always good to play with some guys you’ve known for a while.”
Reflecting on his past, Ortega remembered how he got started in the game and what has kept him hooked.
“I started playing hockey in first grade when my PE teacher, Mrs. Jordan at Palm Valley Elementary, had some of the Coyotes come out and show us the basics and play some street hockey,” said Ortega. “After that, I fell in love with the game. I signed up for the program to try hockey and have been playing ever since.
“I am thankful to all of the coaches I have had over the years to help me grow my game.”
Going forward, Ortega wants to have hockey in his life for the long haul.
“My goal is to play college hockey and finish my education,” he said. “I want to play competitive hockey as long as I can.”
— Matt Mackinder
(September 15, 2021)