Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Among the many program firsts in recent years for the MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team - including multiple championships, a dedicated nearby home arena and getting set for their U SPORTS debut - they've never had an NHL draft pick on the roster.
Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Ty Taylor – who was selected with the 214th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft – will play for the Griffins in the 2021-22 Canada West season, head coach Michael Ringrose announced Thursday.
The Richmond, B.C. product is transferring to MacEwan from the University of New Hampshire where he's spent the past three seasons playing NCAA Div. 1 hockey.
"He had lots of options coming back from the University of New Hampshire and I'm excited he chose us," said Ringrose. "I think he recognizes the opportunity he's going to get here.
"For the program, what you're starting to see is us take steps. It's always going to take time when you're a new program to establish yourself as a destination for players."
Taylor's best work was with the Vernon Vipers during the 2017-18 season when he posted a 1.87 goals against average and .931 save percentage, and was named BCHL goaltender of the year.
"Ty had an unbelievable junior career in Vernon with the Vipers from 2016-18," said Ringrose of Taylor's 71 starts, including 11 playoff games over two seasons. "He was part of two teams there and had unbelievable numbers. His time there was so impressive.
"He's just a really, really solid prospect. Then he went on a scholarship to the University of New Hampshire and things just haven't worked out for him."
Ty Taylor played in 21 games for the Wildcats from 2018-21 (Courtesy, UNH Athletics).
Taylor's highlights at UNH include being named Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week Jan. 6, 2020 and earning seven career wins, but his numbers dropped off from Vernon (3.76 GAA and .852 save percentage in 21 games).
"He's coming to us really motivated for a fresh start and new opportunity," said Ringrose. "He's a big goaltender – 6-foot-4 – and is a guy who has experience being in a successful program in Vernon and then in New Hampshire where things didn't go as he would have liked.
"I'm looking forward to watching him draw from both those experiences and make the most of a really good opportunity in the pipes here at MacEwan."
The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning still hold the rights to Taylor, even though he hasn't been signed to a contract. He's very much still in the mix to be a solid pro one day, whether that's with Tampa or someone else.
"I think what Ty is looking to do here is just get back on track," said Ringrose. "He definitely has the potential to play pro hockey at the highest level.
"We're really excited. We feel like between him and (James) Porter (also a Vernon Vipers alum) coming in, we've got a really, really strong tandem that is going to be able to step in and be formidable for us at this level. We're excited for our goaltending."