McKie taking game
By Ian Denomme
|ARE WE THERE
YET? Former Mustangs men's hockey captain Ryan McKie is making the
long skate to Trondheim.
Ryan McKie has been
given a great opportunity to experience another country's history, culture
and way of life, and he gets to play professional hockey while doing it.
The former Western Mustangs captain and All-Canadian defenseman has signed
a one-year contract with a professional team in Norway. McKie will be
playing the 2003-04 season in Trondheim, Norway with the Trondheim Black
Panthers of the country's 10-team "Elite Series."
Mustangs head coach Clarke Singer coached in Trondheim from 1994-96 and
was instrumental in McKie's signing.
"Clarke is really responsible," McKie said. He put my resume
out to a few teams in Europe and I had a few calls, but Clarke is a big
reason why I settled on Trondheim."
The league has produced NHL players such as Espen Knutsen of the Columbus
Blue Jackets, as well as many others who have gone on to play in World
Championships and the Olympics. While in Trondheim, Singer coached a 34-year-old
player who had already played in four Olympics.
The style of play will be a change for McKie but Singer is confident he
will be able to adapt and be effective.
"It will be a new style but Ryan will adjust very well. He is a professional
now, he will be able to focus entirely on hockey," Singer said.
McKie said he is not exactly sure what to expect, but knows what his job
is and what he has to do to be an impact player.
"It is a different game, but I just have to go in and play solid
'D' and contribute where I can offensively. But mostly they wanted me
for my defensive game," McKie said.
Aside from playing hockey McKie is looking forward to sightseeing, experiencing
another culture and learning another language. He knows little about the
city, but having lived there Singer is familiar with it and offered a
brief history lesson.
"It's a 1000-year old city of about 300,000 people," Singer
explained. "The Germans occupied it during World War II and it was
used as a base for submarines to be repaired."
Being a two-time All-Canadian, McKie is well known, respected across the
"He will do quite well," said Lakehead University head coach
Pete Belliveau. "He is one of the best defenseman in Canada. He is
big and he moves the puck well."
Despite all the changes around the corner for McKie, Singer was confident
and looking forward to them.
"He'll be great. He's outgoing, he's a good athlete and student and
he's a good person. We wish him all the best," Singer said.