First, Ryan Hitchcock said it. Then, he did it.
After being invited to the New York Islanders’ 2017 summer rookie camp as a tryout, Hitchcock stated that his goal was to one day become a professional hockey player.
In May, following his senior season at Yale University and a tryout with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders’ American Hockey League affiliate, the 22-year-old forward became one.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Hitchcock, who signed a two-year AHL contract with Bridgeport. “This being my job every day, coming to the rink and playing hockey, I won’t take a day of it for granted.”
That shouldn’t be a concern for the Manhasset, N.Y., native, who notched nine points (3-6-9) in 16 games with the Sound Tigers.
During that aforementioned camp, Hitchcock, who has a left-handed shot, used each moment to prove to himself and the Islanders that he could perform at the same level as his peers, some of whom already had National Hockey League experience.
“The entire organization liked him,” said Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson. “At camp, he was a workhorse, a buzz saw. His hockey IQ is outstanding. He was in great support positions. He has a lot of intangibles that we got to see day to day, on and off the ice. Our scouts got to see him at Yale, where he re-emphasized those points. I love his effort and the way he comes and competes. He’s a confident kid. He’s a team guy. He’s the kind of guy you want around you.”