Hindsight is 20/20

[Ed. – We are pleased to feature the following article from special guest author Jim Fedyk. Jim was well travelled in Saskatchewan hockey circles in the late 90’s. He currently resides in Seoul, South Korea.]

As some of you know, my chosen profession before I went abroad was that of a hockey coach. I thought I would share a recruiting story with you.

After my initial season as assistant coach with the Battlefords’ North Stars, the head coach couldn’t come to terms with the club, leaving the head job open. While the board searched for his successor, I was named interim General Manager for the summer (later I was hired as head coach / GM).

Previously in the spring, the Lebret Eagles team folded and there was a dispersal draft. My predecessor selected a Regina player whom eventually decided he didn’t want to play in NB and would rather play closer to home as a 20 year old. So, while I still held the interim position, I made my first SJHL trade.

As the team was heading into the next season with only one goaltender, I tried to address the situation by swapping the disgruntled winger for an 18 year-old goaltender from Regina who was on the protected list of the Notre Dame Hounds plus a young defenseman as well.

After officially getting the head job, I began phoning the players in the system selling the attributes of the Stars program. Later in the summer, I chose several players to meet in person in order to complete the recruiting process. The head scout and myself sat down with the goaltender in a Northwest Regina restaurant and felt pretty good about landing the kid as he seemed quite interested. He had the opportunity to go to a WHL camp first, but we were confident that we would see him after a week or two in the dub.

Upon being released by the Brandon Wheat Kings, this goalie never made it up to NB. After he was cut, he was discouraged as a hockey player and decided to put more effort into football. His name was Jon Ryan. He is making his NFL debut as a punter with the Green Bay Packers this weekend.

[Ed. – Ryan played for the University of Regina Rams and was selected by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 2004 CFL Draft. He played the 2004 and 2005 seasons with Winnipeg, setting a CFL punting average record in 2005, before signing with Green Bay this January.]

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