After languishing at the bottom end of the depth chart at Boston College for two years, the athletically gifted native of Miami Gardens, Florida left that university to play Junior “A” hockey in his last year of eligibility.
“Things weren’t working out for me at Boston College, and I was losing my edge, my self-belief. Basically, I had just one chance and that was to come to Vernon. My hockey career would have ended quietly at Boston College if I hadn’t come here. I didn’t even have a full set of equipment!”
Malcolm says that he has “learned a lot about hockey and about life in Vernon.” He adds that he feels “revitalized. I feel optimistic again, like maybe I can be a decent player.” A big part of that rebirth, he says, is “enjoying being around a great bunch of guys on this team.”
The 21-year-old says that “Playing and living in Vernon has been a real eye-opener. There’s a good atmosphere here, a positive vibe. It definitely starts with the owner and coaches and it flows into the dressing room.”
Indeed, he is staying around until early June, when his university classes will wrap up. Malcolm has been taking a full load of courses in order to satisfy requirements that will allow him to play NCAA hockey next year.
This summer he will again train with Mike Boyle and Paul Vincent, who have previously helped develop Malcolm’s legendary strength and quickness. He says, “They are two of the best, and I’d be nowhere without them.”
He has worked hard this year, on and off the ice. He says that he has worked as hard before, but “Now I’m working smarter. Brains over brawn, you know?”
His speed, strength, and mobility have earned him several nicknames. Some refer to Malcolm’s own favourite moniker, Malcolm “Styles” Lyles. He has also been known as “Mr. Excitement,” “Action Jackson,” and “The Chocolate Rocket.”
Whatever the nickname, Malcolm Lyles has left a strong impression on Vernon hockey fans. He will not soon be forgotten.