The Bozeman Icedogs are pleased to announce that forward and assistant captain Ryan Erickson has been called up to the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League. Erickson, who is in his second season as a tier III player with Mark Vichorek is getting his first chance with a tier II team after being a late summer omission from NAHL rosters.
Erickson wasn't worried about being passed over though, saying: "I knew that [coach Vichorek] could get me to the next level and that ultimately helped me make my decision when the NAHL teams that had been looking at me decided to pass on signing me."
Erickson will join a Wilderness team that is 10 games into their season and lacking a physical presence on the ice. “Minnesota is a team that is lacking for toughness right now and Ryan can definitely provide that for them.” Said Bozeman Coach Mark Vichorek. Erickson can certainly do that recording 11 penalty minutes in his first 3 games for Bozeman this season. He also led his MNJHL team with 162 penalty minutes in 2012-2013. Erickson is thankful for the opportunity stating: "I'd like to that the Minnesota Wilderness for the opportunity. I'm very excited."
Erickson has been a helpful veteran presence for the Icedogs early in the year with 4 points in his first three games while also serving as an assistant captain. Vichorek doesn’t think that he will be seen in Bozeman any more this season though. “I don’t think I’m getting him [Erickson] back,” Vichorek said “He’s going to fill a need for those guys and he is a very good player.”
Erickson feels that Vichorek was a big reason he advance. He said "I'd like to thank coach Vichorek for all he has done for me in the development of my game and getting me exposure to the higher leagues." He continued "He's a great coach and a great person as well, I have, and will continue to refer players to him that need some more time developing before moving on to the next level."
With one player already headed for the next level of hockey after just 3 games with the Icedogs, it’s only a matter of time before more are on their way to teams like the Wilderness, who already have one Division I NCAA commit on their team. They only question now is, who will be the next to make their mark and take it to the NAHL?