After three seasons with the Kimberley Dynamiters, Cranbrook’s Ryan Bennett is the second signing of the 2021-22 season with the Junior A Humboldt Broncos.
Bennett told the Bulletin that last Thursday, while still unsure of what to do next year, he got the call and asked if he wanted to commit to the Broncos. After discussing with his family, he decided it sounded like the best option.
“It was very exciting,” he said. “Humboldt’s a great place from what I’ve heard, having Braiden Koran and Jackson Bohan playing out there and I was talking to them a little bit. I’m really excited to be out there.”
Koran and Bohan are both former Dynamiters who have since donned the green and gold of Humboldt.
— Humboldt Broncos (@HumboldtBroncos) January 26, 2021
Bennett’s last two years of hockey have not been what he expected them to, to put it mildly, and he hopes to get some solid hockey in next year.
He was out for much of the 2019-20 season battling a shoulder injury and surgery. He was then asked to join his hometown team, the newly formed Cranbrook Bucks for 2020-21, but decided to stay with the Dynamiters.
“With the Bucks, it was a lot for me to come in, that was kind of my first time back playing and I believe that it suited me better to go back to Kimberley for this year, kind of get my confidence back, get my feet back under me.”
Unfortunately, of course, COVID has devastated the KIJHL’s season and Bennett, like countless other young hockey players, didn’t get nearly as much ice time as he would have liked in his return to play.
“I’ve played a total of 14 games in the last two years, so I’d love to have a full season next year,” he said.
Broncos head coach Scott Barney said the organization has been watching Bennett for a couple of years and said they believe he has the ability to get a lot of ice time, especially now that his shoulder is healed up.
“We’ve had success with the Kimberley Dynamiters here,” Barney said. “Derek [Stuart] has been great to deal with there in Kimberley. He’s always trying to push his players to the next level and we’re happy to do the same here and try and get them to that next level as well.”
If everything works out, COVID-wise, the Broncos’ season should start in September, with camps beginning at the end of August. In the off season over the summer, Bennett said he will be working hard to stay in tip-top shape and ensure he’s ready to play when he gets there.
“I’m excited to go to Humboldt with the program, they’re on the ice every day and it’ll be fun out there,” Bennett said.
“We feel like you know what, he’s excited to come here and when players are excited to come here that’s the players we want,” Barney said. “We’ve heard nothing but great things about his character off the ice and we know how his play is on the ice so we’re excited to have him here.”
As excited as he is for this next chapter, Bennett said he will miss playing with the Nitros.
“Kimberley is a great place to play, it will always have a special place in my heart,” he said. “With the town and the community, I know this year we haven’t had fans or anything, we haven’t really been able to do much like at the grocery stores like we usually do, but just knowing that we have them behind our backs it’s huge.”