Vancouver native Troy Ring will lead the Trail Smoke Eaters into the 2017-18 BCHL campaign after being named the team’s new captain.
“I was very honoured,” said Ring. “I think it’s going to be very exciting come next season. I just look forward to representing Trail.”
Sandwiched between the spaghetti-eating and grape-stomping contests, the Smoke Eaters revived the tradition of naming the captain during Silver City Days, and so in front of a capacity crowd at at the Sidewalk Cafe on Saturday in the Cominco Arena, Smoke Eaters coach and GM Cam Keith introduced Ring as the new captain.
“It was something the Smokies did years and years ago, was name him (the captain) at Silver City Days and we thought with all the excitement going on that it would be a good time,” said Smoke Eaters Director of Hockey Operations Craig Clare. “We had a good idea on who our leadership group was going to be going into next year.”
The 20-year-old defenceman was a unanimous choice by teammates after the Smokies’ season wound up in March, which confirmed the direction the Trail coaching staff was already leaning.
“During the year-end meetings I asked every kid, ‘Who would you want as captain next year?’ and there wasn’t one kid that didn’t say Troy,” said Keith.
Ring came to Trail from the Langley Rivermen in a trade for former Smoke Eater forward Cooper Leitch in June, 2016, and settled in nicely from the start.
“It was a very smooth transition,” said Ring. “I had amazing billets, and the coaches were tremendous last year, and it was very easy to make the move up here from down in the city to the small town.”
A leader on and off the ice, Ring is a solid two-way blueliner who was named the Smoke Eaters top defenceman at it’s awards banquet at the end of last year. He netted seven goals and 27 points for the Smoke Eaters while playing in all 58 games.
As for his leadership qualities, much like last season’s captain Connor Brown-Maloski, Ring is a lead-by-example type player.
“I’m going to have tremendous teammates around me who can help me out with that vocal stuff. However, I think when I do say something that I will be able to get the attention of our teammates. That’s just the kind of relationship I can build with my teammates.”
For Clare, Ring has proven himself to be a durable and respected player and a fitting leader for the Trail Smoke Eaters culture.
“The guys respect the way he plays. I don’t think he missed a game last year, I know he played through injuries, he blocked shots, he hit, and he really plays the game the way Cam and the coaching staff wants, hard-nosed. He’s not a boisterous personality but when he speaks guys respect him, the guys listen, and follow him.”
The whole Smoke Eaters team, including owners Rich and Annie Murphy, out-of-town and local players, and staff, were seemingly everywhere at Silver City Days on the weekend: selling season tickets at the Beer Refinery, refereeing the 3-on-3 hockey tournament, participating in the parade, stomping grapes, working the beer gardens and dances.
Their efforts have the Smoke Eater buzz growing in Trail and with the newly minted captain and a handful of high-end commitments in place, there is good reason for excitement and optimism for Smokies fans and players heading into the 2017-18 season.
“I think we can go a long ways if we just stick together and play as a team,” said Ring. “We’re going to have a very special group; and for me personally, I just want to be there for my teammates and just play hard every game, work hard at practice, and just be a good example for not only everyone but for the younger guys coming in.
“I’m very excited, I wish we could start tomorrow.”
Smoke Signals:The Trail Smoke Eaters season ticket sale has been extended to May 31. Get 28 game tickets for $199 until the end of the month.