The Bozeman Icedogs are happy to announce that forward Ryan Erickson will be joining the team for the 2013-2014 season. Erickson, a 6’1”, 190 winger spent last season with the Central Wisconsin Saints and won the MNJHL Player Development Award. Erickson joins Austin Nottke as the second former Saint to join former Saints Head Coach Mark Vichorek in Bozeman.
After a successful season in Stevens Point, WI that saw Erickson record 10 goals and 21 points while playing third line minutes, Ryan has had a very busy summer going to NAHL camps and showcases across the country. Ryan, after one year of junior hockey and a good high school career at Bemidji High School in Minnesota is what is known as a bubble player. He is very close to making it in the USHL or NAHL but just hasn't got that chance yet.
Ryan is motivated by the feedback he has gotten, saying, “What I'd like to accomplish this season is to get my skill set high enough to get moved on to the next level of hockey.” Vichorek, who has kept tabs on Erickson this off-season had this to say: “This will be a big year for Ryan to make the move onward and upward. He is so close to making that next step, we just need to work on a couple little things to get him there.”
Erickson is excited to get to work with Vichorek for a second season. “I chose Bozeman because I wanted to have the opportunity to play for Coach Vichorek again. He's an outstanding coach and really helped develop my skill set last season.” Adding, “I'm extremely excited for this upcoming season. I've been chomping at the bit to lace the skates back up so the season can't come soon enough for me!”
Erickson is a player that can fill multiple roles for Vichorek’s Icedogs. Besides putting up points last season, Erickson brought a lot to the team that wasn’t easily measured. Erickson was the team’s top penalty killing forward and also led the team in penalty minutes with a whopping 162. He added 142 hits and 17 blocks while quietly serving as a leader in his rookie season. While not fleet of foot, Erickson uses his body well along the wall and in front of the net. His defensive positioning is impeccable and his heart and effort are never in question.
Say Erickson, “I'd consider myself a grinder, not the flashiest of players, but I'll go into all the tough areas and answer the bell when it's needed.” He certainly did that last season, dropping the mitts whenever he was called on. His coach agrees with that assessment, stating, “We are very fortunate to get Ryan to play for the Icedogs after receiving several offers from other teams in other leagues. Ryan will be one of the toughest players in the league for sure as well as being very good at killing penalties and getting his nose dirty. Ryan goes to the net very well and is very good in his own end. He will be a main player throughout the year and also brings very good leadership.”
Erickson will join the Icedogs this season and hopes to build on what was an excellent debut in Central Wisconsin. He also rejoins his former “Red” Linemate Austin Nottke, although the third member of the trio has re-signed in Wisconsin. The Icedogs are very excited for what Erickson will bring to the ice this season.