By Scott Billeck
Goalie Ryan Kubic has made the 27-man roster for Hockey Manitoba’s Program of Excellence. That isn’t particularly surprising given his tremendous talent.
Kubic wasn’t taken in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft, nor was he the first goalie off the board, but according to one prominent scout in the Western Hockey League, “he was the best goalie in the draft, and he is a good, good kid”
Kubic was drafted in the second round (39th overall) this past May in the WHL Bantam Draft by the Vancouver Giants, a club that has given the NHL the likes of Evander Kane and Milan Lucic. Despite some critics in WHL circles who say he should have gone higher, Kubic, who actually didn’t start his hockey career as a goalie, maintains he’s just happy to be there.
“I was definitely excited and overwhelmed,” said Kubic of being drafted by the Giants. “It happened when I was in class. That’s when I found out. I was really excited about that. It is definitely a great organization to go to.
“I am happy, I have met Vancouver’s goalie coach and he seems like really great guy to work with so I am really looking forward to going down there to camp.”
Kubic has nothing but good things to say about Hockey Manitoba’s Program of Excellence and credits improvements in his game and overall development to being involved with the program.
“It definitely helped a lot, I really enjoyed the experience,” said Kubic. “The coaches that were out there pushed us and I learned a lot over the Top-136, the Top-40, and not just on the ice, but off the ice, learning the importance of having good character, too”
New to the development aspect of the POE program is conditioning training. Records are now kept and goals must be met by the players throughout their time away from the program itself.
“It definitely helps, we have this log to fill in recording all the things we have done over the summer,” said Kubic. “It gives us a little bit of motivation, to do a little more to push ourselves and be ready for camp.”
Doug Sinclair, head coach of Team Manitoba for the POE and the Western Canada Under-16 Challenge Cup, has nothing but positive things to say about Kubic.
“The one thing for me is the way he competes,” said Sinclair. “He battles, he is a little unorthodox, kind of like a Tim Thomas type goalie. I think his strengths are his competitiveness, his ability to track pucks really well and he’s also able to play in traffic. He doesn’t give up on plays and pucks.
“His team is always in it, he brings his team to the game. He gives his team a chance to win every night. His team was in the Westerns this year, and he did very well.”
A former member of the Bantam AAA Winnipeg Hawks, Kubic will now ply his trade with the Winnipeg Thrashers Midget AAA team for the upcoming 2013-14 season. However, before that he will take part in the POE Prep Camp from August 15-18 in Winnipeg and then head to the Vancouver Giants rookie camp the following week.
For a kid who didn’t start out playing goal, it looks like Ryan Kubic has quite the bright future ahead of him between the pipes.
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