A pair of Ridge Meadows Flames players have moved up the junior hockey ranks from the local Junior B squad.
Talon Duff will be joining the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL, and Tyson Phare is going to Ontario to play with the Renfrew Wolves.
Both are from Maple Ridge.
Duff, 18, was a Ridge Meadows Rustler and has had a solid career as a Flame, with 10 goals and 19 points in 49 games.
Flames coach Bayne Ryshak said he’s big and strong, and his best asset is speed. He has the potential to be a top nine forward on a Junior A team that is re-stocking with young talent.
“It’s a great opportunity for him,” said Ryshak.
Phare, 18, was a big-time scorer for both his hometown Rustlers and the Yale Hockey Academy, and was draft in the first round of the Western Hockey League bantam draft. He went on to play 28 games in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Everett Silvertips.
“He’s still got it – he’s still a heck of a player, and he’s got a big frame,” said Ryshak.
The Central Canada Hockey League is Junior A, and is returning to play.
Ryshak said not every player’s path to their hockey goals is a simple Point A to Point B, and Phare has been knocked off track by injuries. At this point, he said “It’s important for him to play.”
The Wolves are glad to have Phare.
“Tyson is a big pick up for us. Not only is he a highly skilled player who we expect to produce for us, but he is also a big player with experience playing in a very tough WHL, so we’ll be looking for him to add some grit,” said GM/head coach Ryan Leonard. “Being a utility man allows us to use him in all sorts of situations, making our lineup even more dynamic.”
“We’re really happy to move up athletes, and I want to see them get a chance to play,” said Ryshak. “There’s no getting that time back.”
Junior B hockey in B.C. is still shut down. The Flames are still practicing three times per week, but there are no games.
The Western Hockey League has approval to resume playing, but having private testing has been a key part of their return to play plan, as well as hubs in Kamloops and Kelowna. The Pacific Junior Hockey League does not have those advantages, so the return to play is still very much up in the air, said Ryshak.
“Time is not on our side right now.”
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