Derek Sutiffe of Las Vegas on the move with SPHL Macon Mayhem
THE GREATNESS OF LAS VEGAS GOAL SCORER DEREK SUTLIFFE
By Bethany Drysdale
Vegas local Derek Sutliffe is coming off a career season with the Macon Mayhem in the Southern Professional Hockey League. Tallying 36 points last season, he hopes to build on that this fall. The 6’1 180 pound forward has his roots in Las Vegas, although his love of the game was cultured by his father in North Dakota.
Skating by age 3 and on his first team at the age of 4, hockey was in the family. Derek’s Dad played goalie and both uncles played as well. Derek’s brother Ryan is a goalie too. Derek wanted to play goalie too but his Dad said “one goalie in the family is enough.”
So then Derek became a forward and tried to score goals. Hockey just runs in families. Being a family sport makes it the norm for the Sutliffe boys to love hockey and pursue it as a passion. And it was made easy too because their Dad would flood the backyard making them a little rink back there. This is where their father taught them how to skate, making memories Derek has kept to this day.
So why hockey? “I’ve never found anything like it. It is the most exhilarating sport that I have ever been part of. I’ve played pretty much every other sport with few exceptions and there’s nothing like like it. Being out there with your teammates or your buddies there is a bond that is unparalleled.
“When you are able to make a great pass for a goal or to be on the other side of it, you are getting the pass and scoring the goal there is no greater feeling than that!
“And then of course everyone wants to win a championship. I haven’t had one of those in a long time, so hopefully it will happen soon. But it’s just the love of the game. It’s all I’ve ever known. And, I never want to give that up, that’s for sure.”
His passion for the game is seen everytime we’ve seen step foot onto the ice. He smiles like the kids who watch him and look up to him. Taking his time to say hello to anyone who wants to take a picture or ask for advice. Derek is often found at the City National Arena in the summer months, training.
Derek’s favorite hockey memory…is travelling, getting to see the world. Hockey is such a global sport, and opportunities to see Europe and beyond are unlike many other sports. ‘I think I was in middle school and I was selected to go onto a select team based out of California to go over to Sweden to play in a tournament. Being able to travel over there, it was something I will never forget. It was a great experience. Not anyone gets to do that. And it was an absolute blast. I’ll never forget it.”
That experience led to a career defining moment, when he fully considered hockey as a professional. “As a kid, you’ve always dreamed about playing professional hockey, making it to that level and achieving what you always dreamt of, and I think that was probably the defining moment, where I was finally a little proud of myself. I am my hardest critic, that’s for sure, but when I was able to sign that contract, it was a good feeling. That was my senior year out of college.
“After my senior year of college we lost out in February or March and then I was able to go to Mississippi and finish out the year. Once completed – the end of the year and the playoffs – I went back to school and graduated”
We wish all the best for Derek. He is a genuine student of the game and was to share his knowledge with the kids who watch him play. Everyone has to start somewhere and for Derek, he has never forgotten where he has come from – his coaches, teammates and family who have made his success possible. No matter where what team he plays on this fall our family will be watching and cheering for Derek..
Bethany Drysdale was voted by our readers as the #1 writer on Vegas Hockey.
For this story Bethany wants to sincerely thank Ms Kat Craner, Ms Shannon Walker and Ms. Christine Oka for mediating this interview in my physical absence. Due to our military move to South Carolina, I am now in the in-between state of leaving Las Vegas and setting up in South Carolina. These ladies sat down with Derek Sutliffe to ask the questions we had prepared and they recorded the interview on my behalf. I am so grateful for their help!
In 2011-12 Derek received the BCHL Langley Rivermen’s Hardest Worker Award.
In 2012-13 Derek received the BCHL Langley Rivermen’s Most Dedicated Player Award