EDMONTON – Just a few months removed from leading the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team to its second-straight Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championship, Ryan Benn will be joining the coaching staff of the Spruce Grove Saints, the Alberta Junior Hockey League team announced in a release Thursday.
Benn is joining former Griffins bench boss Bram Stephen's Saints coaching staff as an assistant coach.
"Growing up in Spruce Grove makes joining the Saints organization pretty special to me," Benn said in the Saints release. "I am extremely excited to develop my coaching skills under Bram and learn from the rest of the Saints coaches and staff. I am looking forward to meeting all the players and want to thank the ownership and management for giving me this opportunity."
The Griffins captain for both of their 2017 and 2018 banner seasons, Benn recently graduated from MacEwan with a Bachelor of Communications degree. On the ice, he leaves as the program's career points leader (132 in 141 regular season games).
He played four of his five seasons under Stephen, finishing his career last season under current Griffins head coach Michael Ringrose.
"I'm not sure there's a player throughout the history of the program that is as well decorated, respected or has given as much as Ryan Benn has to the MacEwan athletic program," Ringrose said in a Feb. 23 MacEwan feature ahead of Benn playing his final ACAC regular season game. "He is the captain of our team, he is the all-time leading scorer for the program, but most importantly, he's an unbelievable leader and understands how important it is to treat people the right way."
Saints general manager Rob Sklaruk noted in the AJHL team's release that Benn's winning pedigree will be a boon to the players.
"Ryan has won wherever he played, that type of experience is invaluable," he said. "Ryan will be a great asset to our coaching staff, and a strong contributor to our players individual skill development. Due to being so freshly removed from his playing career, Ryan will have an innate ability to relate and provide feedback to our players in a real positive manner. We are thrilled to have Ryan on board."