All about hockey
4 generations of Tisdales enjoy the ice
Butler Eagle
Written by:
April 8, 2013
Click for larger picture
Valencia’s Eric Tisdale, center, is flanked by hockey playing sons Trevor, left, and Elliot. Trevor is a sophomore on the Mars High School team and Elliot is a rookie with Jamestown of the NAHL. Their father played hockey at Ohio University.

VALENCIA — The Tisdale family knows hockey.

It should. Its members have been at it for a while.

Mars graduate Elliot Tisdale is a first-year player for the Jamestown Ironmen of the North American Hockey League. He and younger brother Trevor, a sophomore with the Planets, are fourth-generation hockey players.

Their father, Eric, played hockey at Ohio University and coached them when they were young. Their grandfather, Norm Jr., played hockey at MIT in Massachusetts.

Their great grandfather, Norm Tisdale, played hockey at Queens University in Canada.

“My father coached me in the North Hills Amateur Hockey Association,” Eric Tisdale said. “He and my grandfather always thought it was important to know how to play every position.

“Back when they played, when somebody came off the ice and it was your turn to go on, you took over that position, no matter what it was. That’s the way the game was played back then.”

Eric Tisale was 9 years old when he started to play hockey.

“It cost nine dollars to play that year,” he said, laughing. “Things were a little bit different back then.”

Elliot is in his first year of NAHL play after scoring 63 goals over his final two seasons with Mars. He also scored 29 goals and added 23 assists for the Pittsburgh Viper Stars last year.

“I tried different sports growing up, but hockey is the one that stuck with me,” Elliot said. “Hearing stories from my dad and grandfather got me excited about the game.

“I’m hoping to land a scholarship for college as a way of paying back some of the money my parents have spent on my hockey over the years. I’ll never be able to repay them. I owe them big.”

Elliot only has four goals and two assists in 56 games with Jamestown this season, playing most of the year on the fourth line. He was recently promoted to the second line.

Having a knowledgeable hockey father — one who has experienced the game — has come in handy for Elliot.

“I loved having my dad coach me growing up because he always had good criticism for me after the game,” Elliot said. “He broke things down and made me a better player.

“When I get frustrated with the game these days, I can call him up and he understands my struggles because he’s been there.”

Trevor scored 10 goals and 21 points for Mars this season in helping the Planets reach the Penguins Cup championship game. He also plays travel hockey for the Steel City Renegades, scoring 25 points in 45 games this year.

“Hockey is No. 1 with me,” he said. “That’s what I want to play in college. I’m hoping to follow in Elliot’s footsteps and get to the NAHL or even USHL after high school.”

While Elliot gets his drive for the game from his father, Trevor draws much of his from his older brother.

“He helps me more off the ice with my attitude,” Trevor said of his brother. “When I was a freshman, I was iffy in my mind about hockey. I didn’t seem to have the mental drive.

“One day he told me I didn’t take criticism well, lacked passion needed to succeed at the game ... He really bit me in the butt. That got me going.”

Elliot respects the physical talent of his younger brother.

“He has the skills for it, no question,” he said. “I’m waiting to see when the mental side kicks in. When it does, he’ll be good.”

Like Elliot, Trevor enjoyed being coached by their father.

“I loved it. He taught me everything I know,” Trevor said. “Dad allowed us to play, make mistakes and learn from them.”

And their father never pushed hockey on them.

“It wasn’t pushed on me, I didn’t push it on my kids,” Eric Tisdale said. “I coached for 22 years. My father coached for 10 years. We all just love the game.”