Hockey player becomes a young Buck

Ryan Gibb signs with the Central Hockey League's Laredo Bucks

Former Golden Gael Ryan Gibb will forgo his remaining three years of education to pursue a professional hockey career.
Former Golden Gael Ryan Gibb will forgo his remaining three years of education to pursue a professional hockey career.
Journal File Photo

Following in the path of his Queen’s teammate Brady Olsen, Gaels star goaltender Ryan Gibb is headed to the Central Hockey League.

After playing out just two of his five years of Canadian Interuniversity Sport eligibility, Gibb signed a professional contract with the Laredo Bucks in Texas.

Gibb said he relishes the chance to play in a professional league.

“The opportunity presented itself to play more hockey in a more challenging league so I just jumped on it,” he said.

Earning playing time in Laredo will be a challenge in itself for Gibb. The Bucks have three goaltenders in their roster already, among them their own star goaltender in 27-year-old Dustin Traylen, who is also coming off a career season as a Central Hockey League all-star and runner up for the league’s Most Outstanding Goalie award last season.

Gibb said he is looking forward to the opportunity to prove himself, though, and feels he has a chance to earn the starting spot.

“I’m going to give it my best shot,” he said. “Last year is last year. It’s a new year at the beginning of the year and I’ll be pushing hard for the start.”

Gibb has come off a spectacular season, leading the CIS with a save percentage of 0.929 and a goals-against-average of 2.86. He guided the Gaels to the OUA Mid-East Division championship and picked up the OUA East Most Outstanding Player award in the process. In his first year with the Gaels in 2007, he won the OUA Rookie of the Year award. During his two years backstopping Queen’s, Gibb played in 46 games, recording a goals-against-average of 3.12, two shutouts and a 0.922 save percentage.

Gibb hasn’t ruled out returning to CIS competition if his professional career doesn’t work out, though.

“Nothing’s ever out of the question,” he said. “I’ll take it season by season and see how far I can take this.”

Terry Ruskowski, the Bucks’ general manager and head coach, said he signed Gibb because he may not be able to bring back the team’s other goalies.

“There’s no guarantee any of them are returning,” Ruskowski said. “I haven’t begun the process to re-sign any of them, and they could leave so we wanted to get some good young goalies down here.”

He also gave some insight into how a team from Texas got wind of a goaltender based in Kingston, Ontario.

“I’ve got scouts in the area,” he said. “He’s pretty impressive. My scouts said he was a character kid and that he could play goal, and those are things I look for.”

Rukowski said Gibb has a good shot at success with the Bucks.

“I think it is up to him. If he shows his stuff the way he can in training camp, he’ll still be here. He has a very good chance of making my team and getting the start.”

Queen’s head coach Brett Gibson said he expected this to happen and prepared for the loss of Gibb early.

“We’ve got Brady Morrison ready to step in right where Ryan was last year,” he said.

“Gibb was a great player but it has no impact [on the team strategy]. He couldn’t do much more at this level. His goal in life is to be a pro, so now it’s the time for him to go.”

Gibson said he thinks Gibb’s future is in the pros.

“Ryan’s done and moving on to another time in his life,” he said. “The last two years have been the best two years of his career. I wish him all the best and know he’ll be great in Laredo.”

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