Dylan Playfair was a popular player during the one season of Junior A hockey he played with the Merritt Centennials back in 2011-2012. He was quick with a smile and a joke and always good for a quote. Despite his family lineage -- both his dad and uncle played in the NHL -- Playfair wasn't the most talented performer on the ice.
He recorded just two assists in 40 games in a Cents' uniform to go along with 56 minutes in penalties. But he was a stand-up guy -- great in the dressing room and ready and willing to go to war for his teammates on the ice -- in the corners and at the drop of a glove.
Inspired by fellow Canadian Taylor Kitsch (a former Langley Hornet player in the BCHL who went on to star in the hit TV series Friday Night Lights and the Disney feature film John Carter), the 19-year-old Playfair terminated his hockey career in the fall of 2012 and turned his attention to the silver screen.
He attended acting schools in Vancouver and Los Angeles. Playfair's on-screen debut took place in the full-length flick Grave Encounters 2. He got to play one of the doomed frat boys, Trevor, in the Canadian-American horror film directed by John Poliquin and written by the Vicious Brothers.
"I got killed off on page 75," Playfair recently told Calgary Herald reporter Scott Cruickshank. "I made it pretty far considering the ghosts were pretty pissed off."
Not too long after, Playfair landed the role of one of Gordie Howe's sons, Marty, in the biopic Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story. The movie chronicles the legendary Detroit Red Wing's return to pro hockey with the Houston Aeros at the age of 45, to play alongside Marty and his younger son, Mark. In 2014, Playfair took on the part of Malcolm Knoxford III (Knox) in the YTV children's comedy series Some Assembly Required.
"[Knox] is a happy-go-lucky, energetic, crash-test-dummy kind of guy," Playfair told Province reporter Glen Schaefer back in 2014.
He was nominated for and won a Joey Award for his work on the show. On Super Bowl Sunday of last year, Playfair returned to the screen in the premiere of Crave TV's Letterkenny -- a raucous, raunchy sitcom about young people's lives in small-town Ontario.
The fictitious setting is loosely based on Listowel, Ont., the hometown of Letterkenny's creator and co-star Jared Keeso.
Playfair plays the part of (go figure) hockey-playing Reilly, one of the many irreverent, potty-mouthed characters on the show that has largely been filmed to date in Sudbury, Ont.
On March 10, 2016, Letterkenny was renewed for a second season and, in August of the same year, CraveTV announced the go-ahead for a third season.
The Globe and Mail's John Doyle called the series "refreshing and intoxicating, funny, mad, droll, childish and spiky. Not since Trailer Park Boys launched have we heard the flavourful, salty Canadian vernacular used with such aplomb and abandon.
"Almost all the conversations are raw comedy and utterly plausible as small-town guy talk."
CraveTV has stated Letterkenny's debut in early 2016 was the biggest of any series on their platform since it launched in 2014, and that nearly one-third of all their subscribers have tuned into the series at some time.
Working almost non-stop since the end of his hockey-playing days four years ago, Playfair is not content to rest on his acting laurels thus far.
When not on set, he likes to call Los Angeles home. His goals are lofty and his focus intense. He resorted to a hockey analogy to get his point across to the Calgary Herald's Cruickshank about the audition process.
"There's other guys there who look just like you, so you have to figure out, 'OK, what am I going to do differently that casting directors are going to notice?' [It's] really similar to a tryout. You get out on the ice . . . and it's 'I can hit a little bit harder, I can skate a little bit faster.'"
CraveTV is an online streaming service for subscribers only; however, clips and trailers from the various episodes of Letterkenny can be viewed on YouTube. Warning: the language and content are salty. Parental guidance is advised.
Also look for Playfair in 2017 in the films Descendants 2, Still/Born and It Stains the Sand Red.
-- Ian Webster, The Merritt Herald