Derek Ryckman’s days in junior hockey may be over, but that hasn’t kept him away from the rink.
In fact, after five seasons in the Western Hockey League that included stops with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Tri-City Americans, and Medicine Hat Tigers, Ryckman elected to continue his playing days with the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers of the Atlantic University Sport conference while also earning a bachelor of administration in finance.
Graduating in 2017, he then entered the industry as a financial advisor with a leading national bank, doing so in his hometown of Red Deer, Alta., where he stays involved in hockey today.
“I play for the senior AA Red Deer Rustlers, so I am still around the game,” Ryckman told Junior Hockey Magazine as part of its CHL Leaders segment. “I also have a fiancé and an eight-month-old daughter, so no complaints. Life is pretty good here in Red Deer.”
In reminiscing about his junior days, Ryckman recalls how it all got off to a fast start.
“I still remember like yesterday when I was told at 16 years old that I made the Hurricanes,” Ryckman detailed. “I wasn’t expected to. I worked my way on to the team, so I’ll never forget that. It was amazing. When you’re 16, you have grown up dreaming of playing in the WHL.
“Then in my 20-year-old year, I ended up in Medicine Hat, which was ironic because Lethbridge and Medicine Hat was the big rivalry. We ended up sweeping Saskatoon, and they were hosting the Memorial Cup that year, so that was the highlight of my WHL career.”
As his junior days came to a close, Ryckman began considering his options, ultimately choosing to pursue his education at UPEI.
“I went to the Atlantic University Sport region and decided to go to UPEI because I knew the hockey was going to be a lot deeper,” Ryckman explained. “The great thing about university hockey too is that a lot of players go on to play pro hockey after they get (their) schooling.”
Listen to Derek Ryckman’s full interview with Junior Hockey Magazine here.