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Airdrie's boy wizard takes the WHL by storm

Pisarczyk’s skating ability has admittedly set him apart from his peers, but it’s his vaunted hockey IQ that punched his ticket to the WHL.
Wyatt Pisarczyk boxing out an attacking player in a game against the Portland Winterhawks.

For many hockey players, getting to play on a big stage in front of your friends and family every game is a dream. But for Wyatt Pisarczyk, an Airdrie born defenseman who was drafted by the Calgary Hitmen, it’s a reality. 

Taken 29th overall in the second round of the 2022 Western Hockey League (WHL) Draft, Pisarczyk gets to have his family and friends attend every home game, a luxury most players don’t get. 

“It’s awesome,” said Pisarczyk on getting to play for The Hitmen. “I got a bunch of family coming out every single game…I got my sister’s team who comes out and supports me. It’s nice being so close to home.” 

At 16 years old, Pisarczyk is one of The Hitmen’s youngest players, and the jump from U18 AAA last year to the WHL this year has understandably been an adjustment. 

“I’m very grateful to be at this level at this age,” said Pisarczyk. “Coming up from U18 AAA, obviously it’s a big jump…you’re playing against bigger guys and there is definitely an adjustment…just getting ready to get hit all the time, I’d say that’s probably the biggest thing.” 

Pisarczyk was called up by The Hitmen at the end of last season and spent a few weeks practicing with the team. He also appeared in four games with the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), time that he credits with helping him prepare for the permanent transition to junior hockey. 

“Growing up I’ve always been a pretty good skater,” said Pisarczyk. “My dad was really keen on making sure that I was a good skater. We had a skating treadmill growing up that I went on every single night.” 

Pisarczyk’s skating ability has admittedly set him apart from his peers, but it’s his vaunted hockey IQ that punched his ticket to the Western League. 

“It’a big jump going up to the WHL and you gotta know where everyone is and know exactly what the play is in a very short amount of time…my hockey IQ has probably helped me quite a bit.” 

As a smooth skating defenseman, Pisarczyk recorded 52 points in 31 games for the Airdrie Xtreme U15 AAA team during his draft year in 2021-2022. Last season, Pisarcyzk collected 16 points in 21 games as a 15 year old on the Airdrie CFR Bisons U18 AAA team. 

In 17 games with The Hitmen this year, Pisarczyk has five points, all of them assists. 

“Obviously coming into the first year, you’re not 100 per cent sure of what is achievable and what’s not,” he said. “So I didn’t have insanely high expectations. Personally, the biggest goal for me was just to get better every single day and go to the rink with a purpose and make sure that I continue to grow as a hockey player.” 

Pisarczyk has dressed for 17 of The Hitmen’s 22 games. As of the end of November, they own a 10-10-2 record and sit in 9th place in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. The Hitmen’s first two games of the regular season were a pair of home and away games against the conference leading Medicine Hat Tigers. 

The Hitmen lost both games, but Pisarczyk remembers those games pretty well. 

“They’re a very fast team and on my first shift I went out there and a guy beat me wide and I was like ‘holy this is a lot faster’. It’s definitely an eye opener.” 

As the season has progressed and as he finds himself in the lineup more consistently, Pisarczyk has felt more and more comfortable. Being able to sleep in his own bed and see his family everyday has also helped establish a bedrock of comfort that allows him to just go out and play and have fun. 

“[I] just want to get better everyday,” said Pisarczyk when asked about his long term goals for the rest of the year. “I think it’s more of a team goal…[but] winning is fun. All the boys like that. It’s been a fun year and winning definitely makes it a lot more fun.”  




Riley Stovka

About the Author: Riley Stovka

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