Coyotes’ Mayo Rewarded With Goal in First Career NHL Game

The 2021-22 NHL season is two weeks in, and there has been no shortage of shockers. The Buffalo Sabres are 3-1-0 and sitting in second in the Atlantic, the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights are both struggling, sitting at 1-3-0 each, and the Chicago Blackhawks are winless.

The Arizona Coyotes have shown a lack of chemistry and fight so far, being outscored 22-8 prior to their game against the New York Islanders on Saturday. While their poor start to the season is a promising sign in terms of potentially landing the first pick in next year’s NHL Entry Draft — likely to be Shane Wright — early showings indicate a long season ahead.

Related: Coyotes Corner: Vejmelka Shines, But Team Still Searching for First Win

There has been one positive recently for Coyotes fan, and that’s defensemen Dysin Mayo’s long road to the NHL, resulting in his first career NHL game, and goal, Thursday night against the Edmonton Oilers.

Dysin’s Journey To The NHL

Mayo’s professional career started in 2014, when the then-Phoenix Coyotes drafted the 6-foot-2 defensemen from Victoria, British Columbia 133rd overall. After being selected, the young defensemen spent the next two seasons back in the Western Hockey League (WHL) further developing his game with the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Dysin Mayo (WHL)

After registering 94 points in 143 games, Mayo said goodbye to the WHL, and join the Coyotes then-American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, for the remainder of the 2015-16 season. He played in five games, and registered one assist. The following season, the newly relocated Tucson Roadrunners began their inaugural season, with Mayo starting the year off in the AHL before being subsequently sent down to the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush to finish off his season.

Mayo’s brief stint in the ECHL proved to be his last, as he spent the next four seasons in Tucson, taking on a leadership role while compiling 12 goals and 26 assists for 38 points in 226 games (from ‘Wily veterans lead the way as Tuscon Roadrunners’ opener nears’, tucson.com, 10/7/21). Many believed he would never make it to the NHL because of his skill, struggling mightily at times to produce in the AHL, including being an early cut from training camp this season.

Long Awaited NHL Debut

While many would’ve been quick to dispel Dysin Mayo ever playing a shift in the NHL, he never gave up on his dream, and seven years after originally being drafted by the Coyotes in the fifth round, he made his NHL debut this past Thursday night in front of his family, no less. This came as a surprise to most as he was one of the early training camp cuts during preseason. The only thing that could’ve made his long awaited appearance in an NHL game even better would’ve been to score his first career goal — which is exactly what he did.

What makes this feel-good story even better, is that Mayo didn’t know he was going to play Thursday against Edmonton. He learned that Wednesday at practice that he was going to be paired with Shayne Gostisbehere for the game. The only downside to his story was that due to COVID-19 protocols his parents could not be in attendance for his first NHL game and goal (from ‘Coyotes Defenseman Dysin Mayo’ Arizona Republic, 10/21/21).

Nevertheless, Mayo, who probably never expected to score in his first NHL game, did just that. When asked after the game about his first career goal Dysin had this to say:

“I wasn’t expecting that (goal) tonight… my goal was to play a good shut-down game, and show that I can compete and play here. I think I did a good job of that.”

NHL.com

Despite a 5-1 loss to the Oilers, Mayo will never forget this moment. Seven years of wondering if he would ever play in an NHL game, 258 AHL games and 25 ECHL games later, he got his moment Thursday night. Despite the outcome, hopefully this isn’t the last Coyotes fans see of him, but until then, congrats to Dysin Mayo, the NHL journeyman, for never giving up on his dream.

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