EDMONTON – With puck possession being so crucial to success in the modern game of hockey, teams that can dominate the faceoff circle instantly have a leg up on their competition.
That's an area MacEwan Griffins head coach Michael Ringrose is looking to improve upon as they head into the program's second season of Canada West competition in 2022-23.
To that end, Ringrose is excited to announce that faceoff specialist and sterling two-way pivot Brendan Boyle is joining the program after graduating from the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Okotoks Oilers.
"Brendan's a guy who can play up the middle, which is something we're looking for," said Ringrose. "He's a guy who's good on the dot and is a responsible two-way player.
"You can plug him in up and down your lineup and he's great on the dot. That's something we identified as an area we need to improve on and he's certainly going to help us there."
The Lake Country, B.C. product compiled 132 games of Western Hockey League experience over parts of four seasons with the Prince George Cougars before finishing his junior career this past season in Okotoks.
The breadth of his junior experience includes primarily serving as a defensive forward in the WHL, before also showing he has plenty of offensive skill in his AJHL stint. Boyle scored at nearly a point-per-game pace for the Oilers with 13 goals and 28 points in 29 regular season games, adding another seven points in 12 playoff contests.
"In the Western Hockey League, he was primarily in a defensive role," said Ringrose. "But this year he came back and was able to play in Okotoks and wore a letter for them in the AJHL. You really started to see some of the skill that he has.
"He was a guy we kept pretty close tabs on throughout the year. He was one of the guys we identified out of that league who we felt had the potential to step to the U SPORTS level and have an impact."
And that includes more than just scoring or defence. Checking in at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Boyle can play that coveted physical brand of hockey that drives teams to success, as well.
"He's a big body who's only going to get bigger – he's going to fill out here," said Ringrose. "We expect him to be an impact player for us up the middle of the ice – a real solid 200-foot guy who has the ability to chip in offensively and play against the other team's best players."