Stoney Creek native Ryan Stepien ices Ontario Hockey League opportunity, News (Hamilton Jr Bulldogs)

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Stoney Creek native Ryan Stepien ices Ontario Hockey League opportunity
Submitted By Dianne Skirving on Sunday, April 23, 2017
Cardinal Newman Grade 10 student drafted by Saginaw Spirit
SPORTS Apr 18, 2017 by Laura Lennie  Stoney Creek News
 - Photo by Laura Lennie Ryan 

Ryan Stepien was selected in the third round – 41st overall – in the Ontario Hockey League draft by the Saginaw Spirit on April 8. The 15-year-old Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School Grade 10 student will get a chance to showcase his skills at Saginaw’s rookie camp in May for the opportunity to move on to its main camp in August. Stepien is one stride closer to netting a lifelong accomplishment.


The 15-year-old Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School Grade 10 student was selected in the third round — 41st overall — in the Ontario Hockey League draft by the Saginaw Spirit on April 8.

“It has been my goal forever to make it to the OHL and hearing my name called by Saginaw is the first step,” he said. “My entire family was there when I heard the news; the whole house started cheering and right away, I started getting a bunch of messages and calls from my friends and teammates. It was just a really great moment.”

Stepien ended his final season with the Ontario Minor Hockey Association’s Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs in February.

“It has been my goal forever to make it to the OHL and hearing my name called by Saginaw is the first step."

The five-foot-10, 170-pound right-winger hit the ice for 34 games and netted 27 goals and 17 assists in the South Central Triple A loop.

Stepien said his squad had a good run overall this season.  “We finished first in the SCTA,” he said. “Unfortunately, we were eliminated early in the playoffs. Still, eight players got drafted, so that’s great.”

Stepien played all of his minor hockey with the Jr. Bulldogs.  He started at the novice level at age eight.

Stepien said being drafted by Saginaw has been the biggest highlight of his hockey career by far.

He’s looking forward to the chance to showcase his skills, he said.

“Being drafted by the Spirit gives me an opportunity,” Stepien said. “I am invited to their rookie camp in May and hopefully, their main camp in August. If I work hard all summer and do well in the camps, hopefully, I can earn a spot on their roster.”

Saginaw general manager Dave Drinkill said the Spirit wanted to add a lot of skill to their lineup.

“Ryan’s a player that we watched throughout the year; he’s very skilled and has the ability to score a lot of goals and put up a lot of numbers at the minor midget level and we think that will translate to the OHL level as well,” he said. “Another intriguing thing with him too is his late birthday. He’s still only 15 years old at this point, so he’s still got a lot of room for improvement in this game.”

Stepien said he’ll be looking to make the most of his opportunity.

“I love playing hockey and to be able to play at that level would be amazing,” he said. “I will definitely bring by enthusiasm and love for the game. But ultimately, I just hope to be able to contribute to the team in any way that they see fit.”

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