Local hockey player aims sights on U.S. title
Thursday, Jan 05, 2017 06:00 am
A local hockey player is looking to ink his second stint in Washington State into the history books.
Canmore’s Ayrton Chapman wants to help win a championship for his team, the Vancouver Rangers of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL), this season.
It wasn’t an easy move for the former Banff Hockey Academy Bears forward to leave the mountain town he grew up in for Washington State for a second time in December, but it has been a beneficial one.
“I played the end of season with (the Rangers) last year and coach Dave Daniello and I always kept in touch,” said the 19-year-old. “I decided to go back there early in December after talking back and forth with him and players from last season.”
The gritty leftie hopes to help lead the Rangers (12-14-5) to a first WSHL championship and he is ready to jump in where he’s needed.
“As of right now, I’m taking it day-by-day and strictly looking to help the team,” he said.
Making a return to the junior A level of action meant getting readjusted to the pace of the game, especially during his first game back against the Bellingham Blaze that caught Chapman “off guard,” he said.
“The speed was a lot faster and all the systems were followed and done perfectly. It wasn’t till almost the third period when I got my feet under me and was up to pace,” Chapman said.
Chapman has one goal and three points in six games with the Rangers this season after compiling 13 goals and 22 points in 16 games with BHA’s Jr. B club in 2016-17.
He said leaving the team he had suited up with for two years was a difficult decision.
“It was an amazing place to start off my junior career as I learned so much from a great coaching staff,” said Chapman. “It’s amazing how many people I met, never mind guys from my first year to my last who I still consider best friends. The BHA is a huge part of my life and always will be.”
In his final month at BHA, Chapman won the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s player of the week for Oct. 31 to Nov. 6 after scoring four goals (two game winners) and seven points in three games.