Ryan Bennett, the captain of the Kimberley Dynamiters and a five-season veteran of the team, has announced his retirement from hockey due to a persistent injury.
“I would like to say thank you to the whole Kimberley Dynamiters organization,” Bennett said in a post. “Over the last five years I have felt the love and support from everyone including fans, board members, coaching staff, teammates and the community of Kimberley.”
Bennett took a hit during the first shift of a game against Beaver Valley on Oct. 9, 2021 and broke his collarbone. The injury took him right at the start of the first season back after COVID, up until the playoffs.
He had surgery to repair the collarbone, but Bennett said that coming back into the season he’s been having trouble with the hardware in his shoulder, and the decision has been made to actually have it all removed.
“I’m in pain 24 hours a day, it’s uncomfortable,” he said. “It’s tough. I haven’t played a lot of hockey recently and it’s just time for me to move on.”
The last game he played was last month against Kamloops, the pain and need to protect the injury on the ice has made it too difficult to play. That didn’t make this decision any easier for him to make, however.
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“Obviously it was very tough,” he said. “I would have loved to finish out my 20-year-old year here and play right until the end, but at that point in time I had to start looking at my future and I’ve got some big decisions to make.”
Bennett said that his plan has been to take his Landscape and Horticulture certificate, potentially starting next fall.
“Ryan gave this organization everything he had over the last five seasons,” said head coach, general manager Derek Stuart. “He displayed a strong willingness to compete every single practice and game. He was a very mature leader who did things the right way.”
The post announcing his retirement on the Dynamiters Facebook page has garnered a huge reaction, with many fans and former teams expressing their admiration for him both on and off the ice.
“Ryan was a valuable player for this team, but more importantly he was a valuable person,” Stuart said. “The team was asked to play this past weekend’s games with the same passion and work ethic that Ryan played with, in honour of him, and it was our best weekend of the season thus far.
“He was an integral part of the five teams he was on and will be greatly missed.”
Bennett was born in Lethbridge but spent most of his life growing up in Cranbrook ,with time spent playing for the Cranbrook Hornets and Kootenay Ice U18 AAA before getting snatched up by Stuart to play for the Nitros.
Bennett has nothing but good things to say about his five years playing with the team.
“It’s amazing. I mean obviously I wouldn’t have stuck around as long as I did if I didn’t like it. It’s just unreal what everyone does, everyone pulls their part and it’s an amazing place to be,” he said, adding his fondest memory is going to the championships in the 2018/19 year, his first with the team.