WHL Rookie of the Year excited to kick off second season with the Raiders
Fresh off of a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, it’s never too early for Ryder Ritchie to have his eyes set on his second season in the WHL. Coming off an exceptional first year in the league, Ritchie says he has even higher expectations for himself heading into season number two.
“I always expect more out of myself,” he said. “I just want my all-around game to get better and do whatever I can to help the team win. That’s all I ever expect out of myself.”
Ritchie was a dominant factor in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in his five games played. The 17-year-old registered nine points, including six assists, which was tied for the tournament lead. His most noticeable showing of the tournament came on August 1, when he scored a hat trick and added two assists as part of Canada’s 14-4 win over Slovakia.
In the gold medal game, Canada won a nail-biter 3-2 in overtime against Czechia. Ritchie explained how it felt to see Malcolm Spence score the game winning goal, and how special it was to share the winning moment with his Canadian teammates.
“The whole experience was unreal,” he explained. “We had an amazing group and we all got along super well. Winning the gold made the whole experience way better.”
When asked about what expectations he had for himself heading into the tournament, Ritchie was just focused on doing whatever he could to help his team win.
“I always have high expectations for myself, but I didn’t really focus on the points. I just wanted to go out and play and do the best I could every game.”
After a dominant rookie season that saw Ritchie put up 55 points (20G-35A) in 61 regular season games and take home WHL Rookie of the Year honours, the Calgary, Alta. product is looking forward to getting things started again with the green and gold.
“I’m excited to get back with this group again. Playing on a line with (Sloan Stanick) and (Aiden Oiring) was fun, and I’m just excited to play with everyone again. We’ve got a great group, and I can’t wait to get together with the guys again. I’m just excited for the season.”
The Raiders kick off the 2023-24 regular season at home on September 22 against the Moose Jaw Warriors. The 2023-24 pre-season begins on September 6 in Big River First Nation, when the Raiders host the Blades.
Season tickets are still available for purchase. You can find more information here.