Colorado Avalanche Teddy Bear: Tyson Barrie


Teddy bears and hockey players don’t seem to go hand-in-hand, but if there’s ever been a Colorado Avalanche player who’s cultivated his status as a softy, it’s Tyson Barrie. In fact, on Twitter and elsewhere, he’s known as T-Bear. Granted, that’s largely because of his name, but Barrie is just a likeable guy amongst the non-Matt Cooke set.

Well, the snarkiest of all Avalanche players, Erik Johnson, calls him “T-Boobs” on Twitter, but we’re going to leave the boys to work that one out on their own. He also called Barrie a “mutant” — but that’s just EJ:

Concerning Barrie and his powers for the good…

Power to Golf Charity Classic

So, remember all that scuffle between the Avalanche and Ryan O’Reilly? How they got all the way to the foyer of the arbiter’s office before settling because O’Reilly was asking to be paid more than star center Matt Duchene?

Well, meanwhile T-Bear was also involved in contract negotiations with the Avalanche. He didn’t go around signing offer sheets with other teams or sicking his agent on the team. Rather, he was in Victoria, Canada, participating in the Power to Golf Charity, which raises funds to support recreation programs for those living with disabilities or other barriers.

The Benn brothers, Jamie and Jordie, joined Barrie on the golf course. The event raised $242,000.

Can you say karma? Just a couple weeks later Barrie signed a lucrative contract with the Avalanche after what amounts to half a good season.

T-Bear and Hockey

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Part of the grit problem with Barrie is that he’s just not gritty. At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, he’s small for a forward — and he’s a defenseman. Well, technically he’s a defenseman. I call him a rover, a throwback to the early 20th century when there existed a position that “roamed the ice at will.”

In fact, Barrie got in some trouble with head coach Patrick Roy at the beginning of the 2013-14 season. For awhile he even sent Barrie back to the Lake Erie Monsters. At the time, he said of Barrie:

"“Tyson needs to keep his game more simple. When he’s losing the puck at the blue line or he’s making a bad decision at the blue line, this is not what we’re looking for. I think he could be a little bit better in that area.”"

That’s pretty harsh coming from a player’s coach.

However, Barrie took it to heart in a good way. He decided he’d make the team or not based on his style of play. The tactic worked out, so much so that Roy was calling him “Our best offensive defenseman” by the end of the season. He also lists Barrie amongst the core of the Avalanche blue line.

The Vulnerable Barrie

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Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Tyson Barrie /


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  • Unfortunately,Barrie’s lack of size and grit makes him vulnerable. You know

    who I’m talking about

    . We’ll go into it more during Minnesota Hate Week, but suffice it to say T-Bear’s not a physical player — he couldn’t possibly be except against guys the size of New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello (5-foot-7, 179 pounds) and the Avalanche’s own Daniel Briere (5-foot-9, 179 pounds). There’s not a whole lot of guys sized like that in this NHL.

    Barrie became integral to the Avalanche as a clutch scorer, the guy coach Roy sent in when the Avalanche were down by one late in the game or were entrenched in overtime. Prior to that, Barrie wasn’t a star-caliber player.

    That was his downfall when facing the likes of Matt Cooke. Players like Matt Duchene and Nate MacKinnon have developed eyes in the back of their head to avoid cheap players like Cooke. Barrie never had to make that adaptation. He had no idea what to do when Cooke came at him knee-first.

    Well, luckily for the Avalanche, he’s back as fast and scoring-minded as ever.

    Just to take a moment to solidify Barrie’s teddy bear status. There’s his ridiculously cute tweets and Instagram posings, like the one of him and Jamie Benn at Dairy Queen. (He looks like he’s trying out for a 50s commercial.) There’s his insanely altruistic tweets about helping people, remembering loved ones and the like.

    Then there’s his answer to the Pepsi Ask the Avs romance-minded question, “Cuddling or long walks on the beach?” Mot players laughed but chose one or the other (EJ, naturally, answered “Neither”) so that cuddling won by a small margin.

    Barrie’s answer? He was the only one to reply, “Both.” Of course he did — that’s our T-Bear.

    Pepsi Ask the Avs: