By Dan Sernoffsky
For the Daily Record/Sunday News
HERSHEY, Pa. – Twenty-five to 30 minutes a night might not sound like much, except when it gets put into context.
For former Dayton and Las Vegas defenseman Tyler Sloan, those minutes are spent sacrificing his body to give the Hershey Bears the best possible opportunity to win.
The 26-year-old defenseman, who first joined the Bears for two games in their 2006 Calder Cup run after having been called up from the golf course has not only blossomed into Hershey’s steadiest blue liner, he’s also developed into one of the AHL’s hardest hitting defensemen.
A defensive defenseman, Sloan scored his first goal of the season Friday night in Norfolk. That goal raised his total to three since signing with the Bears last season, but Hershey didn’t sign Sloan to score goals.
He was signed to help stop opposing teams from scoring.
So far, the Calgary, Alberta product has done a pretty good job of it.
Sloan’s plus-2 rating this season may not seem all that impressive, but on a team that has been struggling to score goals, it’s the best plus-minus rating among all Hershey defensemen.
“I’ve been pretty happy with my consistency,” Sloan said. “I tried to carry over from last year towards the end of the season and the playoffs, but there’s always room for improvement.”
Considering Sloan was undrafted, his development has been impressive.
Sloan bounced up and down between Syracuse and the ECHL in his first five professional seasons. Once he arrived in Hershey, however, the confidence the Bears put in him quickly translated into a building confidence in himself.