Hartman, Correale join former Kodiaks at MacEwan
Camrose Kodiaks captain Ryan Hartman and veteran winger Nic Correale have both signed on to play for the McEwan University Griffins of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference next season. File Photos/Camrose Canadian
Two Camrose Kodiaks will be roaming north to join six other alums to continue their hockey careers.
Captain Ryan Hartman and veteran forward Nic Correale will be suiting up for the MacEwan University Griffins of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference next season, joining Cam Gotaas, Brett Njaa, Matt Waseylenko, Tyler Morrison, Stefan Danielson and Nick Harder.
Hartman says he was already likely going to attend MacEwan for their criminal justice program, but when he was offered a scholarship it was an easy decision.
"I actually applied there before they approached me," he said. "When they came and talked to me I knew I was going to go there from that moment. Back-to-back championships, it's kind of hard to turn that down."
Hartman's final year in the Alberta Junior Hockey League was truncated after a concussion cost him three months. When he was injured, he was the Kodiaks leading scorer, registering in at more than a point a game. He returned for the final month of the season and the six-foot-two, 191-pound Grande Prairie native finished with 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 33 games, and added another three points in six playoff games.
In his career he scored 91 points (38-53-91) in 137 games, all but three with the Kodiaks. He evolved from a bottom six grinder who had almost six times as many penalty minutes as he did points to one of the top power forwards in the league.
MacEwan University coach Michael Ringrose sees Hartman being involved in many facets of the game for the two-time defending ACAC champions.
"Ryan’s a hard-working, dedicated, 200-foot player who can play in any situation,” said Ringrose in a press release. “He has a very good shot and certainly can play a physical brand of hockey while contributing on the scoresheet as well. He’s a huge addition for us.
“He played a little bit on the point on powerplay for them and was a huge part of their successes.”
Hartman is looking forward to reuniting with his former teammates, a few of which were mentors for him early on.
"Cam Gottas has really helped me through this process, I've been talking to him quite a bit, they're excited to have me there and I'm excited to go there," he said. "There will be a lot of similarities to playing with the Kodiaks."
He says his time as a Kodiak helped set hi up for not just his education but gave him tools to be successful in his future.
"Not only is (head coach and general manager) Boris (Rybalka) a good hockey but he's a good life person. He taught me a lot of life lessons there," said Hartman. "I went from being a boy to being a man in that organization."
Correale, meanwhile, is hoping to experience some of the winning formula he had early in his career. The Kelowna native won back-to-back AJHL championships with the Spruce Grove Saints in 2014 and 2015 while Ringrose was the coach there. He spent the last season and a half in Camrose.
"He's definitely a players coach, he likes to listen to your concerns and make sure all players are happy," he said. "He pushes team chemistry and togetherness … team ideals that make you stronger in the long run. I'm excited to get back with him again and learn more from him … he's a very smart coach and I'm excited to get started with him again."
Ringrose is well aware of what the five-foot-eight, 202-pound forward is capable of.
“He’s the type of player that just seems to do all the little details right,” he added of the right winger. “The intangibles of his game are good. He’s more of a playmaker, while Hartman would be more of a shooter, but both contribute in their own ways offensively and will be impact guys for us moving forward.”
This season Correale finished third overall on the team in scoring with 45 points (10-35-45) in 56 games while playing in all situations for the Kodiaks. He finished his AJHL career playing in 276 games – seventh all-time – scoring 202 points (63-139-202), while adding another 46 games and 28 points (7-21-28) in the playoffs.
Despite what he had accomplished, he almost walked away from the game when Ringrose talked him into giving the college game a shot.
"I don't think I would be playing if I wasn’t playing at MacEwan," said Correale. "I'm really excited for this opportunity."