Paradise native hopes his play earned attention from pro ranks
Paradise native Andrew Ryan became the fifth Newfoundlander to have his name etched on the Memorial Cup after the Halifax Mooseheads won the team’s first national championship Sunday. — Telegram File photo
He recorded but one assist through four games in Saskatoon, Sask., but Andrew Ryan was satisfied with his play at the Mastercard Memorial Cup.
Now Ryan hopes the pro scouts were similarly impressed.
The 19-year-old Paradise product, a graduate of the St. John’s AAA Maple Leafs midget program, helped the Halifax Mooseheads win the Canadian junior hockey championship Sunday with a 6-4 win over the Portland Winterhawks in the final.
“When Nate (teammate Nathan MacKinnon) got that last goal into an empty net, and the final buzzer went, well, it’s pretty hard to describe the feeling,” Ryan said Monday evening, before the Mooseheads players gathered for a team party.
“And I thought the President’s Cup (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) championship was a big deal? This is very special.
“But this is a special team. We’re very close-knit, and I guess with the big names, no matter what happens I can say I played with those guys and won a Memorial Cup with them.”
Ryan is of course talking about MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, both of whom will be very high NHL draft picks later this month in Newark, N.J.
The win is also special in the fact that Ryan becomes only the fifth Newfoundlander to win the coveted junior hockey prize, joining Bob Dean of Botwood, who won with the Hamilton Red Wings in 1961-62, Kevin Neville of Corner Brook (Toronto Marlies, 1972-73), Chad Penney of Labrador City (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, 1992-93) and Jonathan Boone of Bell Island (Ottawa 67s, 1998-99).
“That’s pretty cool,” said the Mooseheads’ winger. “I was actually looking at the names on the Cup to see if I knew anyone, but I didn’t recognize anybody.
“It’s definitely more special to hear that. I can’t wait to bring it home and celebrate with my family and friends.”
Ryan was limited to 56 games this season (21 goals and 18 assists) after suffering a knee injury.
Last season, his draft year, Ryan suffered a broken ankle and appeared in only 45 games for Halifax.
He did not hear his name called in the draft.
“It’s disappointing that I couldn’t put together a full season, especially my draft year,” he said. “But I felt I had a good Memorial Cup and the last game might have been my best.
“I felt I was consistent throughout, so hopefully someone took notice.”
If there are no pro offers next season, Ryan could return to the QMJHL as an overager, or perhaps consider the AUS college route.
He feels there’s a definite possibility he can turn pro in the American League or ECHL, although he admits there is still, “a ways to go” in his game before he’s ready for the pro ranks.
Until then, however, he plans on soaking up the Memorial Cup attention.
Today, the Mooseheads will parade through Halifax’s downtown.
“The whole thing has been an awesome experience,” Ryan said.