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BROTHERS KENTON AND TYSON HELGESEN TEAMMATES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN RAPID CITY

Thursday, April 27th
BROTHERS KENTON AND TYSON HELGESEN TEAMMATES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN RAPID CITY

Before Tyson Helgesen joined the Rapid City Rush in March 2022, he and his older brother Kenton had shared competitive ice only one time.  

It was Feb. 20, 2015. Kenton, who is three years Tyson’s senior, was playing for the Calgary Hitmen in the major junior Western Hockey League. Tyson was in his first year with the Spokane Chiefs.  

“It was cool. It was one of those games I circled at the start of the year,” Kenton said. “When he made the team [in Spokane], we knew we’d be playing [each other].”  

Kenton was a forward at the time, and Tyson was a defenseman. The brothers did not cross paths on the ice for the first two periods, as Tyson’s defensive pair was matched up against a different line. But in the third, Calgary shuffled its lines, and the Helgesens wound up playing the entire third period against each other.  

“There was one shift, his D partner blew up one of my teammates, and I kind of came in to stick up for him. And on TV it looked like I kind of jumped Tyse,” Kenton said with a laugh.  

“I’m pretty sure it was after one of my turnovers, the other D man hit their guy pretty good,” Tyson said. “All I hear is Kenton in the background saying ‘we’re going,’ and I kind of turn around and am like ‘uh oh’ and was expecting it to be that he was asking me. Him and my teammate ended up going at it. It was a good fight, but it was kind of funny.”  

Fast forward seven years, and the pair became teammates for the first time. The Rush signed Tyson on March 14, 2022, after he completed his collegiate career at Mount Royal University in Calgary. Eight days later, the Helgesens took the ice together for a professional game in a 5-1 Rush win over the Atlanta Gladiators.  

“It was pretty cool,” Tyson said. “I remember thinking when we were on the ice, ‘That’s my brother.’ And that’s the first time that had ever happened.”  

The Helgesen brothers played the remainder of the 2021-22 season and the 2022 postseason together, and in 2022-23 spent a full season as teammates for the first time in their lives.  

“It’s obviously pretty special,” Kenton said. “With the three-year age gap growing up, we never got to play together. We would play together on the outdoor rink growing up, but for the most part, we were always at different levels.”  

“It’s kind of a dream come true honestly,” Tyson said. “When I started at school, with obviously Kenton playing pro hockey, I was hoping to be able to come where he was. It ended up working out where Burtie was here and he was here, so it worked out really good with the familiarity aspect of it. It’s been really cool for myself, for him and for the rest of our family to watch us play together.”  

Tyson spent four years playing for Rush head coach and general manager Scott Burt in Spokane, where Burt was the assistant coach. Tyson notes that his hope of playing with his brother would have been far more complicated to pull off were it not for that preexisting relationship with the coach.  

Kenton, in his second season with the Rush and his second season as the team’s captain, suited up for 41 games before his season was cut short by injury in February. He recorded 14 assists and a +9 plus/minus rating. Tyson, meanwhile, appeared in 66 games with Rapid City and notched two goals and 14 assists while leading the team with nine fighting majors.  

“He wasn’t that young coming in. He was pretty mature already, and he already knew how to be a pro,” Kenton said. “He’s one of the first guys here and is always the last guy here, taking care of his body. He has already established that professional [attitude]. So there’s no really teaching him. He’s better at that than some guys that I’ve played with that are 10-year pros.”  

Tyson and Kenton are two of four Helgesen siblings. They grew up in Fairview, Alberta, along with their older sister, Talissa, and older brother, Colton. And the younger two Helgesen kids were always competing, with the youngest, Tyson sometimes biting off more than he could chew.  

“Obviously, we were both pretty competitive, so there were little fights and stuff. He would end up beating up on me, and I’d get our older brother to come help me out,” Tyson said with a smile.  

Tyson jokes that being the youngest of four toughened him up because he learned how to take some beatings from his siblings. And, even more valuable, he was able to observe as Kenton made his way through the hockey world.  

“With Kenton growing up and seeing the path he took, I always say he kind of paved the way for me to come up through juniors and whatnot,” Tyson said.  “It was definitely helpful to have older brothers and sisters to go through the same thing.”  

Kenton and Tyson both came up through the WHL, but their paths to Rapid City diverged after similar junior careers. A 2012 seventh-round selection of the Anaheim Ducks, Kenton signed an NHL entry-level contract in 2015 following the conclusion of his career in the WHL. By the time his younger brother joined him in Rapid City, he was in his sixth professional season and in his first year as captain of the Rush.  

Tyson, meanwhile, finished his junior career in Spokane in 2018 and got his first taste of professional hockey via a four-game stint in the AHL with the Hartford Wolfpack. He ultimately opted to attend Mount Royal and earn his degree while playing for the Cougars hockey team.  

Throughout that time, the brothers have remained close. Dating back to their junior careers, they trained together in the offseasons. And though Kenton now spends his summers in Calgary while Tyson lives in Red Deer with their mother, they see each other often with weekend trips, either Tyson making a drive to Calgary or Kenton heading up to their mom’s house for a visit.  

“We get along great. We’re pretty close, Kenton said. “We got all of our fighting out of the way when we were younger.”  

With the elder Helgesen sidelined for the last few months of the 2022-23 season with a lower-body injury, Tyson chipped in various errands, helping out while Kenton was less mobile.  

“Since I’ve been injured here, he’s been my grocery-run guy,” Kenton said. “He’s been a big help getting all that stuff done. It’s been pretty handy.”  

The brothers did not live together during the season but spent a good amount of time together, watching golf tournaments and other sporting events in Kenton’s apartment. Back in Alberta, their family and friends will gather for occasional watch parties, and their mother has taken a handful of trips across the border to see her sons play.  

Following the 2021-22 season, it did not take the Helgesen brothers long to arrive at the conclusion that they wanted to return to Rapid City together.  

“It was pretty automatic,” Kenton said. “We didn’t talk about going overseas or anything. In my exit meeting with Burtie, it was pretty straightforward. I don’t even know if he needed to protect us because we were pretty much locked.”  

Now, having arrived at the conclusion of Tyson’s first full season and Kenton’s seventh, it is clear that both men appreciate the uniqueness of their situation. That they can live out their pro hockey dreams while playing with their brother. And all indications are that it’s something they hope can continue throughout the foreseeable future.  

“Playing pro hockey and being around for the last seven, eight years, there’s lots of turnover with teams,” Kenton said. “It’s pretty tough to have the same couple of teammates for a couple of years, yet alone your brother. I understand how special that is, and it’s definitely something we want to be together wherever we are.”  

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