It's rare that the AGM didn't spend his entire pro career as a goalie, but at the same time-- the story of this AGM is too good to pass up. Thanks to the suggestion from the fantastic Sasky from Australia, this week-- the profile of Tyrone Garner.
The native of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Garner began his part in Junior "B" with the Stoney Creek Spirit, going 2-7-1 in 10 games during the 1994-95 season. Garner would also spend eight games with the Junior "A" Hamilton Kitty B's, finishing with a 4.01 GAA.
The 1995-96 season saw Garner make the next step, going to the OHL's Oshawa Generals and playing in 32 games with an 11-15-4 record. That was enough for the New York Islanders to select Garner in the 4th Round of the 1996 Draft. Yet, the 1996-97 would be a rough one for Garner, as he would only play nine games with Oshawa, putting up a 6-1-0 record, then a 1-0 record in three games in the playoffs.
During that season, as well, Garner's rights, Marty McInnis, and a draft pick were traded to the Calgary Flames for Robert Reichel. Garner wouldn't make the jump to the professional ranks, as he would stay with Oshawa for the 1997-98 season, going 23-17-8 in 54 games, but then going 3-4 in seven playoff appearances. The fourth and final year of OHL play for Garner had him play in only 44 games with a 24-15-3 record with four shutouts and then going 9-6 in the 15 playoff games he appeared in. Garner got Second-Team All-Star honors from the OHL.
When Oshawa's season was done, Garner made the jump to the Calgary Flames for three games that season; going 0-2-0 in those games.
The 1999-2000 season had Garner bounce all around the minor leagues, starting off the AHL's Saint John Flames, where Garner got into 19 games with a 4-8-4 record in those games, before being loaned out to the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL, where he would play three games with an 0-2-0 record. Garner wasn't done there; being loaned out to the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL-- going 8-6-3 in 17 games then losing his only playoff appearance.
The 2000-01 season had Garner still in the ECHL, first starting off with the Johnstown Chiefs for five games (3-1-1) before moving onto the Greenville Grrrowl, where he would play in 35 games, compiling a 17-15-3 record. The Grrrowl would retain Garner for the 2001-02 season, only playing in 29 regular season games, posting a 12-12-5 record; but the playoffs were another story, as Garner put up a 12-2 record, leading the Grrrowl to the Kelly Cup championship. Garner would share the Playoff MVP with teammate Simon Gamache.
The 2002-03 season had Garner signed with the Florida Panthers. He would still be in the ECHL, but with the Jackson Bandits-- going 18-17-4 in 39 playoff games, as well as getting one game in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage, which was a loss.
With no opportunities in North America, Garner decided go overseas to Germany to play for the Stuttgart Wizards for the 2003-04 season, playing in 54 games with seven shutouts and a 2.54 GAA. The 2004-05 season had Garner only play in 39 games with a 3.04 GAA and one shutouts.
The journey continued in the 2005-06 season, as Garner went over to Norway, which would change his career forever. Garner played with Valerenga IF Oslo for 27 games with a 2.59 GAA and .914 save percent, accompanied by two shutouts. Yet, it was the playoffs that really changed Garner's career and life around.
During the league semi-finals again the Storhamar Dragons, Garner was facing a penalty shot; where the shooter severely deked Garner out, forcing Garner to over-extend his leg. The over-extension caused Garner's groin muscle to snap off the bone, leaving the goalie in severe pain and his career in peril. The doctors said he would be able to play, but he couldn't play goaltender for at least one full year.
Knowing he probably had to stay in some kind of ice shape to make a comeback, his father made a suggestion to make a move to the forward position. His size (6'0, 215) made him a natural fit for a power winger. Luckily, Garner was able to catch on with the Jacksonville Barracudas of the Southern Professional League for the 2006-07 season, putting up 12 goals and 22 points in 47 games as a winger.
While he seemed to enjoy playing forward, the bug for playing in net remained, which is why he decided that rather than perform dryland training, he would go to a place where it's winter time in summer. Garner signed on with the Brisbane Blue Tongues of the Australian Hockey League for their 2007 season to play in net for them. In the 13 games with the Blue Tongues, Garner went 8-2-2 in his return to the crease.
That fall, Garner returned to the SPHL's Barracudas as a forward and would put up 12 goals and 27 points in 41 games in the 2007-08 season. Garner used the 2008-09 season to play senior's hockey in Ontario for the Brantford Blast, putting up seven goals and 11 points in 13 games.
After that, it seems that Garner stopped playing puck-- at least in places where stats are tallied up for internet consumption.
While he took a unique route to keep playing after his career path changed, the fact he still had the wherewithal to actually continue playing hockey despite not playing in his natural position shows that you can make something out of nothing if you put your full effort into it. Plus, if nothing else-- that injury and return got him more coverage of his career than probably ever before.