Ryan Parent of the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm has been a staple in Hockey Canada programs in recent years, often looked upon to wear a ‘C’ or an ‘A’ on his sweater. His inherent leadership qualities have caught the eye of his coaches, scouts and his fellow players.
Selected in the first round of the 2005 NHL entry draft by the Nashville Predators, Parent continues to provide consistent play on defense, rarely making a glaring error. At 6’2, 200 pounds, he is lanky rearguard who possesses very long reach on the ice. He skates with excellent balance, making it difficult to knock him off the puck.
During Team Canada’s first exhibition game against the Czech Republic at the 2006 World Junior Championships, he was paired with Marc Staal (NYR). Both are rookies at the tourney, yet the duo provides a competent and rangy defensive-minded presence on the young Canadian team.
How young prospects handle themselves under the bright lights with microphones just inches from their face is one of many tests for the chosen few. While the process can be a tad daunting, some players handle the rapid-fire interrogations with poise and courtesy. Parent, 18, is one of these individuals, a young man who exudes character and composure, both on and off the ice.
HF: How has the first half of the season gone so far?
RP: The season is pretty good. I came out of Nashville’s camp with a lot of confidence. I’m playing on a team that really wasn’t supposed to be as good as we are, but we’ve come together and are playing really well. It’s just been a real successful year so far.
HF: Have you had any contact with the Predators since training camp?
RP: I’ve spoken to the scouting staff at a few games and they really want to see me playing with a lot of confidence and try to experiment with some things to build up the offensive part of my game. Paul Fenton has called me a few times, to let me know he’ll be at games. They tell me good things will come if I play with confidence.
HF: What do your coaches tell you they like about your leadership qualities?
RP: They tell me they like my knowledge of the game. Whether that’s playing the game or just having lots of experience, like when we won the OHL or my international play. Even off the ice, you know, with the guys. I know how to prepare for the games in a tournament like this, as short as it is.
HF: How would you assess your play throughout the Canadian junior team camp so far?
RP: Well I know each player on our team understands our role and to be successful, we have to play within our role. Mine’s obviously as a defensive defenseman and I know that if I do my job, I can help out the team dramatically. So that’s my mindset coming into the tournament.
HF: You were partnered with Marc Staal tonight. Has Coach Sutter told indicated you’ll be playing together throughout the tournament?
RP: I’m really not sure, but I’ve been paired with him since we were selected to the team and we’re rooming together, too. Hopefully we can stick together. I see him a lot in the OHL and we’ve played together before a little bit. We see each other well out there, we’re kind of similar in our style of play and we make things easy for each other on the ice.
HF: You bumped into Vaclav Meidl (NAS) a few times out there tonight. He’s another Nashville prospect.
RP: I actually see him quite a bit in the OHL. I think we’ll play against each other about six times. We kind of know each other. He’s got pretty good size.
HF: Your bio says you were born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, but your hometown is Sioux Lookout, Ontario?
RP: Yeah (laughs). I always kind of wonder how to answer that question. I was born in P.A. and we moved when I was five. But my parents still go up to Waskesiu Lake (at Prince Albert National Park). They always talk about growing up there and all the fun they had.
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