Nelson Pyatt was born in the Thunder Bay, Ontario, the grain shipping capital of Canada. Naturally, when it came to summer employment, he toiled like a slave at one of the city's numerous grain elevators. As a result, hockey, as a career option, looked mighty attractive.
Pyatt started out on skates at age six, gliding his way through Tom Thumb, peewee, bantams, and midgets. He made the Junior A Tier II with the Thunder Bay Marrs in 1970. From there, he found a fork in his road with the University of Boston or Duluth-Minnesota on one side and the Oshawa Generals of the OHA on the other. The scale was eventually tipped in favour of Oshawa since his father was a friend of the team's coach, former NHLer Gus Bodnar, and, furthermore, Pyatt did not consider himself to be the scholarly type.
In Oshawa, the slender, left-handed centreman scored only 30 goals during his two years with the team, but he could skate very well. So, the Detroit Red Wings picked him up in the 1973 Amateur Draft.
With the Wings, Pyatt went nowhere. He scored zero points in his 14 games with the club. He was treated as little more than a spare part in the Motor City, so he agreed to be shipped to the Wings' affiliate in Britain for one season. With the London Lions, Pyatt had a great time travelling and meeting people, but the excursion did little to promote his development as a hockey player.
He then returned State side and was traded to the Washington Capitals in 1975. In his first full season with the Caps, Pyatt hammered home 26 goals. As contract renewal time came during the off-season, he expected the club's management to dig a little deeper into the coffers. They didn't, so he declared himself a free agent.
Strangely, in the months that followed, only the struggling Colorado Rockies expressed an interest in Pyatt's services. So to Denver he went with his scoring trend in tow. But scoring goals didn't seem to be the issue with Pyatt. It was his defensive lapses that might explain why other NHL clubs were not eager to sign the centreman.
Unfortunately for Pyatt, after two productive seasons, his scoring touch followed his defensive game into a long hibernation. By 1978-79, he began to bounce between Denver and the minors. He lasted through the 1979-80 season, retiring from hockey with the Fort Worth Texans of the CHL.