EDMONTON – Ty Taylor is living proof that the plan worked.
For both sides.
The MacEwan Griffins men's hockey team landed a star goaltender (and Team MVP) to backstop them through their inaugural Canada West campaign.
And Taylor, who had been relegated to backup status after three seasons at the University of New Hampshire, successfully rehabilitated his career, quickly joining the Tampa Bay Lightning organization – the team that drafted him – with the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears after finishing his season at MacEwan.
Now, the Griffins are hoping to hit on that template again.
On Wednesday, head coach Michael Ringrose announced that goaltender Ashton Abel is transferring from Boston University to play for the Griffins in 2022-23.
"He's a guy that had tremendous success in Junior A and has gone down and had some success at the NCAA level, but has been playing behind an elite goaltender at BU," said Ringrose of Chicago Blackhawks prospect and Terriers workhorse Drew Commesso. "He's going to get the opportunity to come back (to Alberta) and take the ball and run with it.
"He comes from the same background as Ty and, I think, is looking for the same thing. We're excited to find a really good fit for our program."
Ashton Abel has 13 games of experience with one of the top programs in the NCAA (Brendan Carpenter photo, courtesy BU Athletics).
Abel comes to the Griffins with 13 games of NCAA experience at Boston University over parts of the past three seasons with his best numbers coming in a nine-game stint in 2019-20 (.891 save percentage and 3.15 GAA).
Like Taylor last year, that NCAA experience that he brings is invaluable to the Griffins' group.
"Certainly especially with Ashton coming from such an elite program at that level, we're excited to not only get him in between the pipes, but also for him to bring back some of that knowledge and experience and just help us grow as a program," said Ringrose.
The 6-foot Fort McMurray product comes by his pedigree honestly as the son of former Grande Prairie Storm star and minor pro player Jason Abel – a member of the AJHL all-star team that competed at Viking Cup 1998.
Like his father, Ashton Abel also had a great AJHL career, playing two seasons for the Calgary Mustangs (2017-19) before finishing off his junior run with a bang in 2019-20, winning 20 of his 26 starts for the Okotoks Oilers, while posting a 2.16 GAA and .910 save percentage.
"I ended up watching him in the Alberta Junior Hockey League," said Ringrose. "He's certainly a guy that, at that level, gained a solid reputation that followed him from organization to organization. He's very well thought of and he knows a few guys on our roster. We're excited to add him to our mix."