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Kyle Betts

Kyle Betts excelling in Friendly City after collegiate success

February 5, 2023

It’s fair to say that rookie forward Kyle Betts is making his way as a professional in the American Hockey League. While Belleville Senators fans know him as an increasingly reliable centreman, they may be less aware of his impressive academic credentials. The 25-year-old boasts a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering with minors in Computer Science and Business from his Ivy League alma mater Cornell University.

Of course, there were moments of adversity during his tenure in Ithaca, New York especially balancing high-level hockey and school. However, he endured with the support of his parents, Scott and Tanya, as they helped him stay the course while working towards his academic and athletic achievements, including being named ECAC Hockey Student-Athlete of the Year during the 2020-21 season.

“My mom teaches high school chemistry. She always pushed me hard academically. It was always important. When I went to school, I wanted to ensure I was getting a good education, doing it the right way, and learning as much as possible. My dad always valued having a degree to fall back on when you’re done playing. When I was at school, there were times I’d call them up and say I’d been in class all week. We have two games. It’s exhausting. They told me to stay the course and think about what it was going to mean when you’re done, and looking back now; I’m glad they kept me pushing because there were times it was really tough, and now being done just having the memories of those experiences. I’m so glad I did it.”

Betts has many fond memories of his time at Cornell. One of the projects he is most proud of is his completion of a state-of-the-art automated air hockey table, which he built as an independent study.

“I had a senior culminating class where basically, you learn a couple of things the first few weeks, and then you get to basically build whatever you want, kind of open-ended. We had this old air hockey table in the hockey house for a long time. I thought it would be cool to build a robot that can kind of compete because, you know, sometimes you want to play alone. I approached the professor and pitched the idea he thought was really cool. Basically, It was a little robot like the motors that could move horizontally and vertically with a camera that was mounted on top. Where it uses basic image processing to remember the puck and where the other player is, then strategically moves in accordance with that. It was a really fun project and a kind of cool combination to that program. At the highest setting, it can’t miss it knows as soon as it leaves the panel where it’s going to end up. So it’s kind of cool to build something that’s basically unbeatable. We did have a lower setting where it just moved a bit slower, and if you really drilled that, you could get one past.”

Now Betts is applying his smarts to studying the game and has become an effective two-way forward since joining the Senators organization on a professional tryout offer. The native of Flesherton, Ontario, has registered a plus-3 rating and three points (one goal and two assists) in 30 appearances while being called upon to take key faceoffs.

“The staff has been great. When you join a new league, there will be some growing pains, and you have to learn new systems. Every time there has been a mistake or a little thing I could do better, they’ve been quick to sit me down and talk me through that. So it’s really helpful. I’ve adapted well. The pace is obviously really high at this level, and every player is good, but you know, just doing the little things and playing well defensively gets your confidence up and helps reassure can play at this level.”

After achieving collegiate success, Betts is more than happy to pursue his hockey dreams in the Friendly City as he continues his development.

“I want to be a reliable player. As you get more opportunities, you gain more confidence in yourself. It’s also just nice to know the coaches are seeing what I can do and putting me in those situations. It’s a big responsibility, but a job I look forward to doing.”