Ryan McMann always had the desire to play hockey as a kid in Eckville, Alta. There consistently were kids out on the frozen ponds and at the local rink, McMann being one of them. McMann, in love with hockey, has brought those talents to the 100 Mile House Wranglers.
“I was in Lloydminster for a while and that’s when Duner [Wranglers general manager and head coach Dale Hladun] was in contact with me and when I got released from there is when I decided to come here. It was best for me to keep playing hockey and improve my game here,” he said.
McMann joined the Wranglers last season after being released by the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He appeared in 40 games and became a mainstay and integral part of Hladun’s defensive core as a shutdown defenseman.
Never one for scoring goals, it was always more fun for McMann to be the one shutting them down.
“I mean, I just like the ‘D’ aspect of it,” said McMann. “I like being that guy. Sure, you don’t score goals all the time but you definitely keep the other team from scoring.”
That doesn’t mean he never scores goals though. Last season he scored three and, in the eight games, he’s played for the Wranglers this season, he’s made a play with the puck to help teammates score two goals.
Being from a community between Calgary and Edmonton, it’s not hard to believe that McMann modelled his game after Dion Phaneuf, especially considering Phaneuf played his junior hockey in Red Deer with the Rebels. The Red Deer Rebels was the team McMann grew up watching, with the arena only being 50 kilometres from Eckville.
“Dion Phaneuf played there when I was a young kid and I always admired how he played and tried to make my game how his was,” he said of his admiration for the NHLer who played for the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and now the Los Angeles Kings.
Another reason McMann found himself in 100 Mile House is due to his belief that Hladun is one of the better coaches, if not the best, in KIJHL, he said.
“He’s got lots of connections and he seems to care a lot about his players, which I liked [and] which was important to me.”
McMann is the type of player who just wants to help his team win more rather than reach any type of statistical benchmark. He’s up for the challenge of trying to bring another championship to 100 Mile House, particular the Cyclone Taylor Cup which the team will be hosting this April.
“It’s definitely going to be an exciting thing to be part of and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I just want to help the team as much as possible to win a championship and do everything possible to help them win it.”