The 2014-15 season for Ryan Barrow was a productive one to say the least. Before joining the Rivermen, the Cochrane, AB native registered a combined total of 128 points in 54 games split between two different leagues with the Banff Hockey Academy (CSSHL) and the Banff Bears (HJHL). Producing points was a regular occurrence for Barrow last year, but as he soon found out, it wouldn’t be as easy in the BCHL.
“It took me a little while to get going and find some confidence at the start of the year. Everything happens a lot quicker in this league and the players are a lot stronger. I learned pretty instantly that if you don’t bare down on your opportunities, the puck won’t go in as the goalies are so good in this league,” said Barrow.
After recording two assists in the first two games of the season, Barrow would go on to record only two more points in the next 15 games. The 6 foot 1, 154 pound forward realized since the puck was not going into the net, he figured he may as well add another element to his game.
“I started to get more physical, which would get the team fired up. Every time I laid a big hit, the guys seemed to feed off it and eventually helped me find some confidence,“ Barrow continued.
Like most first year BCHL players, it takes time to find their identity and role on the team. Rivermen Head Coach and GM Bobby Henderson always knew what Barrow was capable of and believes he is just beginning to scratch the surface.
“The biggest thing for any player is confidence. He really impressed us with his abilities at training camp and these past few months has really found his rhythm. He has a good size frame, but is a slight kid and was tough for him to adapt at first. Looking at him now, he is competing extremely hard and is going to the dirty areas. It’s been nice to see him get rewarded lately,” said Henderson.
One of the annual awards handed out at the Rivermen year-end banquet is the ‘Most Improved’ player honour. It is no secret that Barrow will be one of the front-runners to win it.
“There are a couple guys that will be considered for it, but Ryan is up there that’s for sure. We have been extremely happy with his overall development over the course of the year and he is only going to get better,” Henderson continued.
Since the calendar year turned to 2016, Barrow has come into his own recording three goals in the month of January and has four points in his last four games. In total, the rookie has registered 5 goals and 8 assists for 13 points in 41 games.
“I have learned that I can be a good player in this league and it has been nice to see some points add up lately. I feel like I learned a lot about myself this year and couldn’t be surrounded by a group of better guys, who have helped me a ton this season,” said Barrow.
Coming into the 2015-16 campaign, one of Barrow’s goals was to earn an NCAA Division I scholarship. That goal has recently been accomplished, as he announced on his Twitter account (@rybarrow) on Monday, February 1st that he has committed to Dartmouth University for 2017-18.
Barrow and his Rivermen teammates are in Wenatchee for a doubleheader on the weekend beginning on Friday, February 5th at 7:05pm. Their next home game is a special “Family Day” game on Monday, February 8th at 1:00pm. Admission is by donation and after the game there will be a ‘Skate with the Rivermen’.