Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Six former Camrose Kodiaks helped the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team win a second-straight Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championship last month.
So, why not add two more?
On Friday, head coach Michael Ringrose announced that graduating Kodiaks wingers Ryan Hartman and Nic Correale will join the Griffins for the 2018-19 season.
"Players that come out of that program understand what it takes to be successful and win," said Ringrose, who had Kodiaks products Cam Gotaas, Brett Njaa, Matt Waseylenko, Tyler Morrison, Stefan Danielson and Nick Harder as integral parts of his championship squad this past season.
"If you look at their history, it's one that has certainly had its successes and continues to produce competitive teams."
Like those that have come before them out of the solid Alberta Junior Hockey League program run by GM/head coach Boris Rybalka, Hartman and Correale bring a complete skill-set and lots of character. Considering that's also the modus operandi of the Griffins, the fit is obvious.
"If you look at the type of student-athlete that has come into this program and had success – you talk about (graduating players) Ryan Benn and Christopher Wray and Taylor Mulder – these guys fit that same mold," said Ringrose. "They're the complete package – can play both ends of the rink and be relied upon and have the competitiveness that is necessary to be successful in this league.
"We're certainly really excited to add them. They'll be very valuable pieces of the puzzle moving forward."
Ryan Hartman served as captain of the Camrose Kodiaks in 2017-18 (Sean Mascaluk photo).
Hartman spent the past three seasons with the Kodiaks and was a point-a-game player (33 in 33 games) in his final junior season, which concluded last month. He added three points in six playoff games.
"Ryan's a hard-working, dedicated, 200-foot player who can play in any situation," said Ringrose of the Grande Prairie product who plays left wing. "He has a very good shot and certainly can play a physical brand of hockey while contributing on the scoresheet as well. He's a huge addition for us.
"He played a little bit on the point on powerplay for them and was a huge part of their successes."
Correale spent the past year-and-a-half with the Kodiaks after playing more than three seasons with the Spruce Grove Saints. He consistently put up points throughout his junior career, finishing with 202 from 2013-18 – including 45 in 56 games this past season. The Kelowna, B.C. product concluded with a flourish by tying for the Kodiaks' playoff scoring lead (seven points in seven games).
"I coached him during my time in Spruce Grove," noted Ringrose, who was previously behind the bench of the Saints before coming to MacEwan. "I was fortunate enough to win championships with him (2014 and 2015).
"He's the type of player that just seems to do all the little details right," he added of the right winger. "The intangibles of his game are good. He's more of a playmaker, while Hartman would be more of a shooter, but both contribute in their own ways offensively and will be impact guys for us moving forward."
Nic Correale finished his AJHL career with the Camrose Kodiaks after winning two championships with Griffins head coach Michael Ringrose in Spruce Grove (Sean Mascaluk photo).
They will also fit seamlessly into a culture on the Griffins that values high character, academics and a team-first mentality.
"I think they're both great young men, too," said Ringrose. "I've had the opportunity to chat with them on a number of occasions. I know Nic from coaching him. They're good people that fit into any dressing room because they have the character you're looking for and need to be a part of a successful team."