By Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
The name “Bertuzzi” means a lot in Guelph. Home to the OHL’s Storm, Guelph saw Todd Bertuzzi take the team to the 1995 OHL final and his nephew, Tyler Bertuzzi, help the squad win the championship in 2014. That Storm team went all the way to the Memorial Cup final before losing to the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.
The franchise fell into a hole once Tyler and his crew (which included Robby Fabbri, Kerby Rychel and Brock McGinn) left, but now the Storm is ascendant once again – and another member of the clan is part of the rise.
Tag Bertuzzi is Todd’s 16-year-old son. He was taken second overall by Guelph in the OHL draft this summer and has shown few rookie jitters through his first three pre-season games. A natural center who has been playing left wing early on, Bertuzzi has impressed coach/GM George Burnett so far.
“He has a really good powerful presence on the ice that is beyond his years,” Burnett said. “He’s around the puck a lot and he plays with an edge. You’re aware he’s there and he hits hard.”
Bertuzzi came out of the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies program, located just north of Detroit. Former NHLer Jason Woolley was a coach there and showed early faith in the kid.
“I started playing with them for U14 when I went a year up,” Bertuzzi said. “Mr. Woolley scouted me when I was at Little Caesar’s and told me to come. I thought it would be good for my development to play a year up and then I realized I liked playing for the Grizzlies, so I stuck around there for three years.”
Three years in the same place is actually a lot for the youngster, whose childhood was transient thanks to his dad’s NHL career.
“I was born in Vancouver, then I moved to Calgary, Anaheim, Florida, Detroit…I moved all around,” Bertuzzi said. “Looking back it was kinda crazy, but as a young kid you don’t know anything, so it was just normal life.”