Daniels reflects on CIS decision

In the month of January, Laurier Golden Hawks fourth-year goaltender Ryan Daniels did it all. He turned aside over 340 shots, upsetting and shutting out the No. 2— now No. 3 — ranked Western Mustangs and led the team to a solid 6-2 record since the winter break- all in a month’s work.

Without Daniels backstopping the gold and purple game in and game out, it’s hard to think of where the Golden Hawks squad would be. However, Laurier hockey wasn’t always a part of the plan for Daniels, as he had a choice between pursuing a career as an NHL goalie or as a university student.

It was only ten years ago that Daniels started in net for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, posting an impressive career 85-58 record during his major junior tenure, finishing off his career with the Peterborough Petes.

“It was a great learning experience playing in the OHL. Being 16 or 17 years old it definitely is a good experience,” Daniels said.

The hard work and stellar goaltending Daniels exemplified in the OHL paid off, as he was drafted 151st overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft to the Ottawa Senators.

Daniels said he will always cherish this historic moment in his life.

“It’s tough to explain, it’s a moment in your life no one will ever be able to take away from you, it’s a part of history and it meant a lot to both me and my parents,” he said.

Daniels attended the Senators’ training camp that following season, working his hardest alongside some of the NHL’s most supreme talent.

“Sharing the same ice with guys like Dany Heatley or Wade Redden was an awesome experience, you see these guys on television the year before and now you’re sharing the ice with them.”

However, after training camp had ended, Daniels was faced with a life-changing decision.

Due to the fact he had played five years in the OHL, Daniels had earned CHL scholarship money, allowing him to have financial aid with his university tuition. If Daniels were to pursue the NHL route and turn professional as a goaltender, he would forfeit that money and the scholarship would no longer apply.

Daniels opted to take the scholarship and pursue a career as a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) goaltender while getting his post-secondary education. The subsequent decision to join the Golden Hawks was evident for Daniels.

“I’ve known [current Laurier captain] Kyle Van De Bospoort since I was four, the hockey program was nationally ranked and the business program is one of the best in country here,” Daniels said.

Fast-forward to today and Daniels is in his last semester representing the purple and gold and has focused his attention on what the future holds for him.

“The hard work and schooling has definitely paid off, I got employment with my business degree and I already have my foot in the door with a company which is exactly what I wanted and came here for,” he said. “[But] I still want to play, it will always be my desire to play hockey whether it be [minor professional] somewhere.

“It’ll be great to play and to say I did, and something I can tell my kids one day in the future that I played.”

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