EDMONTON – Among the underrated recruiting avenues available for MacEwan Griffins men's hockey head coach Michael Ringrose is attracting players wishing to return from the NCAA.
Building off some recent success with this stream, Ringrose has landed another recruit who can bring experience at that level back to the Griffins.
On Friday, he announced that Merritt Oszytko will be transferring to MacEwan University from Div. 1's Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
The longtime SSAC product is coming home.
"He's another repatriate from the NCAA," said Ringrose. "He's a guy I know well – I had him at Vimy (Ridge Academy) during my time there. He's played four seasons at RIT, although he red-shirted in his first year. Prior to that, he was a really good player at the Alberta Junior Hockey League level.
"He knows a lot of guys on our roster and he's a great guy in the room," he added. "I know he'll have an immediate impact on our culture and an immediate impact on our skill (level) with our forward group up front."
Oszytko played three seasons in the AJHL, mostly for the Sherwood Park Crusaders, but finished up with 38 points in 39 games with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in 2017-18.
He saw action in 24 NCAA games with RIT from 2019-22 after red-shirting during the 2018-19 campaign.
"Coming back from the NCAA, he's comfortable playing against men and playing at that pace," said Ringrose. "He's going to be able to help us offensively. His creativity and skill will help us on the left side."
Although, Oszytko doesn't have much eligibility left in his post-secondary hockey career, Ringrose noted short-term additions like he is can still have a big impact on the program.
"I think it's important," he said. "The way recruiting is working these days, you're not always just looking to fill your roster with first-year guys. The NCAA portal is flush with guys who are looking for second opportunities. They're a little bit older, a little bit stronger and could be a good fit on a smaller time-frame that you would typically have a guy.
"For us, being a young program, being able to reach into some of those alternative recruiting streams and pull out a few key pieces we think are going to be able to help is an important strategy we've embraced."