Persistence has paid in the desert for hockey player Dysin Mayo of Victoria. The longest-serving member of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners has signed a new NHL contract with the parent Arizona Coyotes.
“This shows they [Coyotes] still value me and want me and will give me a shot one day,” said Mayo.
Terms of the one-year, two-way deal were not announced.
The Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association product has been an organization man since being drafted in 2014 by the Coyotes in the fifth round, 133rd overall, out of the junior Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. The steady and capable minor-league blueliner has played 221 regular-season games in the AHL with the Roadrunners with 12 goals and 26 assists. He has had 25 games with a goal and 15 assists with Arizona’s ECHL affiliate Rapid City Rush.
An NHL debut has, however, proven elusive.
“I’ve not gotten a call-up yet but [the Coyotes] are still interested and want me to move forward with the program,” said Mayo, who won the Memorial Cup with the Oil Kings.
“The new contract shows they are happy with the step forward I took this season" — particularly the Roadrunners' team-leading plus-24 he recorded in 58 games.
It required a complete rethink of the game for the six-foot, 195-pound rearguard.
“I played more of an offensive role in junior, and was a power-play guy, but have had to change my identity in pro hockey and have transitioned into more of a stay-at-home defenceman and shot blocker and penalty killer,” said Mayo, who turns 24 next month.
“It took me longer to find my role in the pros.”
But he has and is now skating with it. Or at least he was until the AHL season was abruptly cancelled in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was really disappointing because we haven’t had much playoff experience in Tucson but were in first place in our division this season and looking forward to a long playoff run,” said Mayo.
Instead of a post-season with dreams of the Calder Cup, Mayo found himself back home amid the pandemic and working out in the backyard of his family home in Metchosin before finally getting back on blades at Westhills Arena in Langford.
Mayo’s new contract is for the 2020-21 season and he can’t be considered for the 2019-20 NHL restart next month in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto.
“Next season could be four or five months away for me,” he said.
“I just have to keep in shape and be ready for whenever it is that I play again.”