June 5, 2013, Charlottetown, PEI (ISN) – UPEI Men’s Hockey Head Coach Forbes MacPherson is pleased to announce the addition of Derek Ryckman, a 6’4″ defenceman from the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers.
Born in Red Deer, Alberta, Ryckman is excited to move to the east coast to bring his talents to the Panthers. He prides himself on being a steady, stay-at-home defender, who takes pride in being very difficult to play against.
“Throughout my career in the WHL, I was given the opportunity to play a shut-down role against the other teams’ top lines, and that’s a role I really enjoyed,” said Ryckman, who had one goal and six assists with Medicine Hat while accumulating 67 penalty infraction minutes. “I told Forbie when I’m playing my best, I’m a really mean guy on the ice. That’s the type of game Panther fans should expect from me over the next four years.”
MacPherson, entering his fifth season behind the bench, says he’s looking forward to seeing Ryckman wearing the Panther uniform this fall. “Derek’s defensive pedigree speaks for itself. In a tough, physical league, he was a premier shut-down guy. He is a strong player down low and he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty every night,” said MacPherson. “One of the key priority areas this off-season was to recruit players who could add size and skill to our defensive unit. Derek will be a great addition to our lineup.”
Ryckman added when he began to explore next steps for his hockey career, he immediately looked to the AUS. The 21-year-old also played with Lethbridge Hurricanes and Tri-City Americans over the course of his junior career. In 2011–12 he was a teammate of current Panthers forward Mason Wilgosh. Ryckman said having Wilgosh on the team was also a contributing factor for him to come to PEI.
“He (Wilgosh) says UPEI is a great school, the rink is packed every game, and the fan base just loves the Panthers,” Ryckman added. “It seems the program is building toward something very special and I want to do everything I can to help it elevate to the next level.”
The Panthers finished 5th place in the AUS hockey conference last year. The Panthers won their quarter- final playoff series against StFX before losing to CIS winner UNB.
“Derek is a great addition to the men’s hockey program, and I’m pleased to welcome him to the University of Prince Edward Island,” said UPEI Athletics and Recreation Director Bill Schurman. “It’s a big transition to move from western to eastern Canada, but we will provide him with the necessary support for a positive and exciting student-athlete experience.”
Ryckman will be enrolling in the bachelor of arts program at UPEI.
Friends of Men’s Hockey will host the annual men’s hockey team banquet on July 4 at UPEI’s Wanda Wyatt Dining Hall. Guest speaker will be Dr. Bill Montelpare, UPEI applied human sciences professor and Margaret and Wallace McCain Chair in Human Development and Health. Montelpare will speak about reducing the risk of concussions and increasing the accuracy of determining when a concussed athlete is ready to play. Tickets will go on sale next week.