The Bryan Moore Story: The Toledo Walleye’s Dominating VeteranNovember 7, 2018
The life of a minor league hockey player quite frankly is not one most people would sign up for willingly. Moving from city-to-city, team-to-team, and settling in quickly only to be sent elsewhere once again, is just the name of the game. For Toledo Walleye forward Bryan Moore, that is just par for the course in his nine-year professional year hockey career.
Bryan Moore’s Hockey Roots
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Moore was not exactly sure how hockey would influence him at such a young age. “I am not from a very well known hockey town,” Brian told Access Hockey MI, “My family was the ones that really pushed me to become who I am now. My dad is from New York and my dad was a huge fan, so he really helped me get to the point where I am in my career.”
Although he is just 24-years old, he already has nearly a decade of professional hockey experience under his belt.
In 2010, at the age of just 15 years old, Moore began his professional hockey career with the Sioux Falls Stampede. He was drafted third overall by the Stampede in the 2010 USHL Futures Draft. In two years with the Stampede, Moore totaled 18 goals and 19 assists playing in 101 games. His life in South Dakota would be short-lived. In the same year, he was selected 102nd overall by the Sarnia Sting in the OHL Priority Selection Draft. The Canadian based team in Ontario appealed to Moore as a destination to take his career to the next level.
OHL Transition: Moore Joins Sarnia Sting & Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
As many talented hockey players often find themselves moving up the ranks, Moore was another prospect looking to garnish more eyes on his talent. In fall of 2012, he made his way up north to the OHL, playing with the Sarnia Sting. Moore’s stint with the sting only lasted a season and a half, totaling 25 goals and seeing a spike in assists from his time in Sioux Falls with 36 in 95 games. In on-ice statistics, Moore had a plus/minus rating of -5 in 2013-14, prompting the Sting to move on from Moore.
After being in Sarnia for a year and a half, Moore was on the move once again. He was traded from Sarnia to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – 566 kilometers north of where his OHL career began. For Moore, apparently, a change of scenery was needed as his career started to spark.
He lit the league on fire after being moved from Sarnia to Sault Ste. Marie, totaling 14 goals and 14 assists in 27 regular season games for the Greyhounds. They made the playoffs in 2014, but aspirations fell short after only seven games in the postseason. Moore fell short as well, only notching two goals and an assist.
West Coast Bound – Moore Joins San Diego Gulls (AHL) & Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)
The 2014-15 season in Sault Ste. Marie would make Moore the player he has become today. In a 59-games played the regular season, he totaled the second most goals in his professional career. Bryan tallied 23 goals and matched a season high in assists (27). Most impressively, his +/- increased to +27, providing proof that his skills certainly were displaying development. The Greyhounds played 14 postseason games, and Moore totaled seven goals and six assists – a vast improvement from a season ago.
Heads turned and eyes were opened with Moore’s stint in the OHL, as he was on the move yet again. This time around, to the West Coast’s San Diego Gulls of the AHL. Moore spent time with the Gulls and Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) during the 2015-16 season, Bryan totaled .2 total goals and 25 assists in 57 games played combined between the two franchises. With the Gulls, Moore had only two goals in 29 games. While with the Grizzlies, Moore earned ECHL Player of the Week honors the week of November 23.
Following his breakthrough in the AHL/ECHL in 2015-2016, it was time for the most movement of his career. Moore acknowledged, “I am just looking to be apart of a team that wants to win and make a long run.” He would eventually find that later on in his career.
In Constant Transition
Moore began the season with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL in 2016-2017, playing six games and displaying an empty stat sheet. Traded to the Allen Americans, more demonstrated once again that a trade would ignite a flame in his young career.
Moore set a career high in goals in Allen, netting 30 scores in 49 games. He also set a career high in the +/- category, finishing with +28 in his 2016-17 campaign. Byran also skated on loan with the San Jose Barracuda and Manitoba Moose of the AHL. In four games, he netted just one goal and one assist in four games between two teams.
The Allen Americans would welcome Moore back to the organization for the 2017-18 season. Continuity actually worked for him this time around, adding back-to-back 20 goal/20 assist seasons with the Americans. Once again, Moore would see a stint with the Barracuda but unfortunately, it was not a permanent placement. He played just seven games, contributing no points and finishing his time with a +/- of -4, the second worst of his career.
For the first time since his AAA playing days with the U16 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes in 2009-10, Moore would make his way back to the opposite side of the country on the East Coast.
Becoming a Team – Moore Joins Toledo Walleye
The Detroit Red Wings brought Moore into training camp for a brief stint back where his competitive hockey career began (Moore played for AAA Compuware in Michigan in 2008-09). After being cut from the Grand Rapids Griffins, he is one of seven players assigned to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.
Through nine games unfortunately for Bryan, he has once again seen a stall in success during the first part of his season. The stat sheet only reads three assists, for the Walleye. “It is a weird start for me. I normally have a couple of goals here by now,” Moore told Access Hockey MI. “I am finding a way to do what I can for this team by playing physical and playing hard…doing everything I can to help this team win.”
Moore put his physicality on display in the home opener on Oct. 27 against the Fort Wayne Komets. He engaged in a third-period fight, which helped the team gain momentum towards a potential win. Moore said, “Going into the third period, I could not score anything, get any assists to go in, so I was like aye I am going to get the boys going. Luckily enough I got someone to challenge and come after me. It got the boys going and we found a way to score and win the game.”
Adding a Gritty Spark to the Walleye Bench
The Walleye beat the Komets 3-2, starting a home season campaign that currently sits at a 3-0 record at the Huntington Center for the fish. Toledo is off to a 7-1-1-0 start to the 2018 season, including a six-game winning streak. To Moore, it is no surprise that the team has been successful early on. “How close the guys have come from training camp until now in amazing to see. I think we became a team the first day we practiced with each other. I think that goes a long way in games and helping each other on the ice.”
The 2018-19 season is being played with a chip on his shoulder after being assigned to Toledo over Grand Rapids to start the season. That has not stopped Moore from working hard, knowing he has things to improve on. Moore said, “I want to get better on the defensive end. The coaching staff is going to help everyone with just that. They are going to help me become a better player no matter what. They are right in my face if I am doing something wrong. As long as they help me get better, I will do anything that it takes to go far for this season.
There’s No Place Like Toledo
Whether that means another change of scenery to fuel improvement from a personal end, but until then Moore will continue to play for the Walleye. The crowd did make a great first impression on him in his first home game in Toledo.
I have been around a ton of hockey arenas and this home opener is for sure the top one that I have been a part of. I was in Orlando and I have been in Allen,” Bryan told Access Hockey MI. “The fan atmosphere here was just incredible. It is unbelievable to come out onto the ice and here the crowd and fans cheering us on. They were alive the whole game. It is unbelievable to be a part of.” Hopefully, for Moore and the Walleye, the season becomes one to remember.