Brendan Pawliw

Laylin locked in with the Spruce Kings

It’s not often a highly-skilled player makes his way to the BCHL halfway through his 20-year-old season but for Spruce Kings newcomer Luc Laylin, it’s better late than never.

The St. Michael, MN product has fit like a glove with Prince George, averaging nearly a point-per-game since joining the Spruce Kings from the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League.

For Laylin, playing in Canada’s top junior A league has long been a goal of his – an accomplishment he can finally check off his list.

“I always wanted to play here at some point, especially with my junior career coming to an end. I have always wanted to come to BC,” expressed Laylin. “It’s a little cold up here in Prince George but I love it, it’s (become) my second home. The guys are very welcoming and I love coming to the rink every day.”

North of the Twin Cities

Coming from the State of Hockey, Laylin is no stranger to long, cold winters and a hockey-crazed environment. Laylin says the adjustment to PG has been seamless. “It’s been quick and easy. I feel it’s a good fit for me here and it’s been exciting to get going with this team.”

The Spruce Kings are right in the thick of the ultra-competitive Interior Conference, sitting in fourth place with a record of 13-9-1-0 at the Christmas break, tied with the Cranbrook Bucks.

Laylin’s hometown of St. Michael is about an hour from the acclaimed Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul and he comes by the game honestly as his father Cory played professionally for 16 years. The elder Laylin’s career included stops in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, and Denmark.

“Getting to watch him when I was a little kid was always a lot of fun so I always wanted to put a hockey stick in my hand,” said Laylin, who saw his star rise at the vaunted high school level for St. Michael-Albertville High.

In his first two seasons, Laylin prided himself as more of a passer, notching 14 goals and 47 assists in that span. However, his last two years at STMA were his best. Laylin became team captain and reached the 25-goal plateau while also cracking the 50-point mark.

“You always want to play in the state tournament. That is a pretty big deal, playing at the home of the Minnesota Wild (with) 16-thousand people watching. That (tournament) is definitely a highlight of what you want to do in Minnesota high school hockey.”

“We made it to the state tournament one year playing in front of a big crowd so that was certainly my highlight.,” described Laylin. “We also had a great home crowd every night and it was really fun playing in a packed barn.”

Deep roots in The North Star State

Laylin grew up cheering for his hometown Wild and always admired Minnesota-product Zach Parise. But, his favourite player as a youngster was Detroit Red Wings superstar Pavel Datsyuk.

Jokingly, the majority of his teammates view Laylin in the same light as Montreal Canadians young gun Cole Caufield. “That is what a lot of the guys have been saying, especially since I am an American. It’s funny since I am an undersized player with a righty shot so (I guess) we are pretty similar.”

As his junior career progressed after leaving high school hockey, Laylin played parts of two seasons with the Minnesota Magicians of the North American Hockey League.

In 2020-21, he notched 38 points in 48 games for the Magicians before signing on in the USHL to start this season. 

Laylin returns to Minnesota next season as he is committed to the University of St. Thomas, which is a Catholic college in the Twin Cities. He’ll also have a teammate to show around his home state as it’s the same school Spruce Kings netminder Aaron Trotter committed to in November.