Bigger and faster players stand in the way of the little guy with the big heart, but Brayden Ryan is willing to battle for space now that he’s found his way to the Maritime Junior Hockey League.
The former forward with the Western Kings has earned a roster spot with the Pictou County Weeks Crushers where he’s trying to find his niche in a new community with new schoolmates and teammates.
At home, Ryan earned a reputation as a tenacious checker who played the game bigger than his five-foot-seven, 160-pound frame that moves quickly in and out of traffic.
He attended the Crushers training camp last year, but he was cut from the team and he returned home to play another season with the Western Kings.
He earned his spot this time around and former Kings teammate Malcolm Genge is also on board for his rookie campaign as one of the defenders for this year’s edition of the New Glasgow-based franchise.
“I must have worked on the stuff I needed to improve on and I guess the coaches noticed it more when I came out this year,” Ryan said.
He said he put in a lot more training time over the past year to prepare for his second chance and he knows he has his work cut out for him with a lot of good players looking to make a positive impression and earn playing time.
“I definitely have to put more work into it this year playing up here because it’s not like home,” he said. “You can get scratched at any point so I’m just going to give it everything I got.”
He’s having fun so he’s excited about what the season will bring. He’s settling into life in Level 3 at North Nova High School in New Glasgow and he likes the new teammates he has around him.
He’s just going to do what the coaches ask him to do and try to be a steady two-way player who puts some points on the boards.
“I’m just going to try and work as hard as I can and don’t be worried about the size (of the players) and just do my job and play my role,” he said.
Making the adjustment has been easier with his buddy Malcolm Genge on board for the adventure.
“It’s a lot better to have a familiar face around when you’re settling into a new school and new place so it helps out a lot,” he said.