Whyte living the dream working for NHL, serving DYHA
Sean Whyte played 21 games for the Los Angeles Kings in the early 1990s.
These days, he is back in the NHL, but in a role that touches more lives than he ever did as a player.
As a youth hockey regional director, Whyte does for the NHL what he did for years with the DYHA Jr. Sun Devils – give all he has to grow the game in non-traditional hockey markets.
“The job is going amazingly well,” said Whyte, who took the NHL job in the summer of 2017. “I love what I do and who I work for. Yeah, it’s almost as nice as playing in the NHL. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to continue growing the game and staying in the sport I love.”
In Arizona, Whyte continues to work with the Jr. Sun Devils as the association’s board president.
Growing the games at the grassroots level is something Whyte has done most of his adult life. To be doing that now for the NHL makes Whyte have to pinch himself now and then to make sure it’s really happening.
“I have been teaching hockey for the past 35 years and truly love it,” said Whyte. “Working for the NHL and building tomorrow’s players and fanbase is a dream to me, as I get to do this not only over my nine clubs I represent, but I also get to assist other regional directors in their markets as well.”
Whyte, who also played four seasons of pro hockey in Arizona for the IHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners and four more for the WCHL’s Phoenix Mustangs, said he has watched the game of hockey progress over the years not only in Arizona, but in the Western and Southwestern United States as well.
“The quantity of players continues to grow, and we keep breaking records every year through USA Hockey,” said Whyte. “A big part of this is due to the great job all of the NHL clubs are doing in introducing ‘Learn To Play Hockey’ to their communities.
“A bigger part of us growing the sport is to ensure that we promote the Declaration of Principles and all that is stands for. Hockey can teach a person so many wonderful traits, and this is just as important to us as the numbers themselves.”
Humbly, Whyte also said he takes “great pride” in knowing some of that growth is part of his doing.
“I am very passionate about my job, who I work for, and who I work with,” Whyte said.
Still the DYHA board president, Whyte keeps tabs on the association and said he is excited for the direction the Jr. Sun Devils are going.
“DYHA has some very exciting plans for the future and is always striving to grow with integrity,” said Whyte. “I am very proud to have been involved with such a longstanding program that has had great success.”
Whyte also serves on the DYHA Hockey Operations Committee and has responsibilities with other committees as well.
“I have told Brad (McCaughey, DYHA’s hockey director and coach-in-chief) that if he ever needs someone to fill in from time to time, I would if available, but I do travel a great deal,” explained Whyte. “This is why I stepped back from coaching this year, as it would not be fair to the players I would’ve committed to.”
Overall, Whyte said growing the game in the Western United States will continue to gain momentum if everyone stays on the same page.
“The growth of hockey in the Southwest is very promising,” said Whyte. “The most important thing, however, is that we want to grow in a positive, impactful manner. We want to keep teaching the Declaration of Principles and great traits such as respect, perseverance, teamwork and leadership, among other things. We’re on the right track.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 18, 2019)