Bayne Ryshak says he feels right at home behind the bench as the newly minted head coach of the Meadow Ridge Flames.
While officially named head coach on Nov. 16, Ryshak took over the reigns behind the bench on Friday, Nov. 6 when Jamie Fiset stepped aside to do work with B.C. Hockey’s high performance program.
Fiset, who also holds the title of general manager and governor of the Flames, along with the team’s ownership, decided it was time for a change behind the bench.
Ryshak said he’s grateful for the faith the team has shown him over the years.
“It kind of all happened pretty quick,” said the 25-year-old Flames coach. “I’m just really thankful for the opportunity and for what Jamie’s done for me and how he has guided me along.”
Ryshak is a Ridge Meadows minor hockey graduate who was part of the midget A1 Rustlers that won the provincial gold medal in 2008. He then played for three seasons for the Flames with Fiset as his head coach, before making the move to an assistant coach with the team once his playing days were done.
He said the situation to become head coach of the Flames was the perfect fit.
“I don’t think that if there was another team in the league that would have asked me to do this that I would have taken the chance on it,” said Ryshak.
He said the familiarity of the team, his coaching staff and the systems in place, plus the trust of the ownership group made the jump much easier.
Ryshak said the team has responded well to the change. Since the start of November the team has four wins and two overtime losses, taking points in eight of its last 10 games.
“They are really paying attention to the little things that help you win,” he said. “The attitude of not quitting is pretty deep in this group.”
That was never more evident than their two games last week. After a wild 10-7 win in Aldergrove on Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Flames came home and knocked off the league leading Mission City Outlaws 3-2 on Friday, Nov. 20. He said the win over Mission really emphasized the buy-in his team has shown, bouncing back from two one-goal deficits to get the win.
He also likes the way his team has responded with its special teams. He said its power play has been running at about a 40 per cent clip over the last six games, while it’s penalty kill has had a 90 per cent success rate.
“Winning the special teams battle is huge in our league,” said Ryshak. “With a shut-down 3-2 come-from-behind win over the best team in the league, this group showed the belief of buying into the little details.”
The Flames are tied with the Aldergrove Kodiaks for third in the Harold Brittain conference with 22 points and have a game in hand. With a record of 9-8-1-3, it’s the first time the Flames have been above .500 since the opening game of the year.
• The Flames host the Langley Knights Friday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Planet Ice.