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Brampton - Over 235 Canadian Hockey League games, defenceman Dalyn Flatt always made sure he had his man.
He’s brought that same attitude to life as an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stationed in Yellowknife. Flatt, who turns 24 on Oct. 7, joined the RCMP shortly after wrapping up his junior career with a 26-game stint with the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League in 2006-07.
A third-round choice of the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League’s 2005 Entry Draft, Flatt pursued an RCMP career after failing to come to terms with the Rangers before a June 1, 2007, deadline.
“I wrote the RCMP entry exam just after that,” Flatt said last week while in the Toronto area on police business. “I always knew I wanted to be a Mountie when I was finished with hockey. I just didn’t think it would be that quickly. My best friend is a Mountie, and both of his parents were Mounties, so I grew up around that. It seemed like the right choice.”
A resident of Teulon, Man., Flatt spent six months at the RCMP training academy at Regina before being posted to Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories.
“When you’re training it’s a very regimented lifestyle, almost like the military. Playing hockey helped me adjust to that. Yellowknife is an interesting place to work. It’s a real learning experience. We’re busy. We police two aboriginal reserves up there. But I’m transferring soon and I’ll be on the move every two years while I am up here, so who knows where I’ll end up.”
Flatt, who’s getting married next week, stays active in hockey when his schedule permits.
“I coached two youth teams last year and I help train kids in the summer in my off time. We have some kids from the area who are playing junior. Some others will play at university. It helps me stay busy and give back to the game. I play for a senior team, and it was a bit of an adjustment going from playing major junior to playing on a team like that, but once I lost some of my competitive edge and stopped taking hockey so seriously I started having a little more fun.”
Flatt played 177 games over five Western Hockey League seasons with the Saskatoon Blades and Kootenay Ice starting in 2001. He was signed by the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack in October, 2006, and saw action in 32 games. The Battalion acquired overager Flatt and centre Thomas Stajan in a trade for centre Howie Martin and defenceman Phil Oreskovic on Jan. 9, 2007.
“It was only a few months, but playing for the Battalion gave me some of my fondest memories of junior hockey,” said Flatt, who earned three assists with the Troops. “I loved playing there and wish I could have spent more time there. It was such a good group of guys, a great coaching staff, and everyone had such a great attitude.
“You could tell how committed the young guys were. There were no attitudes, just well-rounded guys who were very mature for their age. They weren’t worried about getting drafted into the NHL or spending their NHL signing bonus.”
Flatt said the situation with the Battalion was much different from what he left in Owen Sound.
“It was a young group in Brampton, and they were really green. They just wanted to play hockey. There was a lot of tension in Owen Sound. They had very high expectations that season. The main goal when I got to Brampton was just to make the playoffs.
“I was able to bring some leadership. I’d been around and been put in a lot of different situations. I had a seven-win season in Saskatoon and I’d been on a team in Kootenay that won more than 40 games, so I had seen the ups and downs of junior hockey.”
Flatt’s junior career came to an end when the Barrie Colts swept the Battalion in an Eastern Conference quarterfinal. Vladimir Nikiforov scored a power-play goal at 5:28 of overtime to end the series at Brampton.
“I can still see the last goal that knocked us out in the fourth game,” said Flatt. “I can still see Tomas Stryncl diving for the guy, but he went around him and beat Bryan Pitton. I never thought that would be the last game I would play at a semipro or pro level. But I’m happy with what I achieved in my career.”
Flatt followed the fortunes of his teammates and was proud to see many of them play significant roles for the Battalion squad that advanced to the OHL Championship Series in 2008-09, losing in five games to the Windsor Spitfires.
“I was watching intently from the north when the guys got to the final a few years ago. It was great to see how well they did. You knew they were destined for big things. I try to keep an eye on the guys and see what they’re up to.”
Flatt enrolled at the University of Manitoba in September, 2007, playing 14 games with the Bisons before getting the call to join the RCMP. At Manitoba he played with two other former WHL players who finished their junior careers with the Troops, defenceman Rob Smith and centre Nolan Waker.
“I was there while I was waiting to hear from the RCMP,” said Flatt. “I left at Christmas, but I still plan on finishing my education. It’s just a little tougher being stationed up north. I liked being with Rob and Nolan. They were two great guys. Rob was our captain and my defence partner. Both of them had nothing but good things to say about their time with the Battalion.”