The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge was Andrew Ryan’s “coming out party,” according to Team Atlantic assistant coach Doug Jackman of St. John’s.
Ryan, a six-foot-three, 186-pound winger from Paradise who helped the Atlantic entry — featuring players from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I. — to a fifth-place finish at the Challenge. It was Team Atlantics’ best finish since it won bronze in 2005 with a roster that included Newfoundlanders Roger Kennedy. Patrick O’Keefe, Josh Day, Andrew White, Sam Hounsell and Robert Slaney.
The other entries in the Challenge are from four other regions in Canada, along with the United States, Finland, Germany, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
Ontario played the U.S. in the gold medal game Tuesday night.
Ryan, who scored twice and assisted on seven goals in five tournament games, was, according to Jackman, “by far our best player.”
The big left winger, who will return to his rookie campaign with Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, should get an invitation to the Canadian under-18 team summer camp, said Jackman.
“He’d have to be on their radar because of the (under-17) tournament and because he played on Team Atlantic and not the West or Ontario whose rosters are filled with major junior players,” said Jackman.
“Along with his great size he has great hands and skill around the net. He was exceptional for us and played on our top line.”
Team Atlantic defeated West 2-1 Monday to earn fifth place.
“We had five returnees, including Ryan, so we had experience on our side,” noted Jackman. “Our goaltending was solid despite some rough games.”
Ryan was one of four Newfoundlanders on Team Atlantic and Jackman said all four contributed to the effort.
The team also included forward Brandon Pye and defenceman Michael Abbott of St. John’s, who both play for St. John’s Privateers in the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League and Aaron Hoyles, who is from Gander, but is living in Nova Scotia, where he skates for the Dartmouth Ice Dogs in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League.
All of the Newfoundland-born players did well,” said Jackman who is from St. John’s.
“Pye had a checking role on our team and he took pride in it. His line did an exceptional job and he also contributed a goal and was named player of the game once.
“Abbott started out as our three or four D man and finished the tournament as one of our top two D,” noted Jackman. “He was tremendous for us against the West He logged a lot of minutes. He killed a lot of penalties and he also played on the power play.”
Jackman said Hoyles was a physical defenceman. He killed penalties and was good in his own end of the rink.