Jake Ryczek knows which skills he must improve in order to take the next step in his hockey career. The 20-year-old defenseman’s track record shows that he’ll do his best to do it, too, no matter the cost.
Look no further than the 2017-18 season. After scoring a goal and playing in just five games with the Providence Friars, Ryczek realized college hockey wasn’t the right fit for him. So, after the first semester concluded and he spoke to his family at Christmas, he decided his ideal move was to take a trip north and play for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads.
“Having to balance both school work and hockey taught me a lot when I was at Providence, but it also showed me that college wasn’t for me,” Ryczek explained. “I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being with the guys. The coaches and my teachers taught me a lot. Everything went well and I got through a semester. But I wasn’t in the lineup a lot. I worked hard at everything. I worked hard in the gym, on the ice, in the classroom, and I got a couple of opportunities, but that was it. It just didn’t work out and after talking with my family I decided to make the switch.”
What also changed around that time was the ownership of his QMJHL rights. On Dec. 20, 2017, they were traded to Halifax by Acadie-Bathurst Titan, who had plucked him in the sixth round (92nd overall) of the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.