Ryan Gower had always dreamt of playing for the Parkland Rangers program. Growing up in McCreary, Ryan knew how much work he would have to put in to make the jump up to the AAA level and his dream came true last season when he cracked the roster.
The season was very short-lived; however, as Parkland played just five games before the season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Knowing he couldn't get on the ice because of pandemic restrictions, Ryan didn't use that as an excuse, instead, he worked that much harder off the ice to make sure he was ready for this past season and all of that hard work has certainly paid off for the 14-year-old.
Gower was one of the Rangers' leaders this past season as he scored 13 goals and added up 21 assists. He poured in another four playoff points.
"I felt I had a pretty great season, I couldn't have done it without my amazing teammates," said Gower. "I honestly didn't think I would produce as much as I did so that was a nice surprise. I just tried to keep it consistent and it worked out well."
Ryan's season with Parkland came to an end in the first round of the playoffs; however, that wasn't the end of the season in all for the McCreary native as he was invited to Hockey Manitoba's U16 Program of Excellence (POE). The first round welcomed 116 of the top U16 players in the province. Just as he has throughout his young hockey career, Gower excelled in the first round and now, he's set to join the top-39 U16 players in the province at POE's Top-40.
The top-40 camp will be held in Portage la Prairie from May 5-8. The Program of Excellence is a provincial high-performance development and selection program that leads to the formation of U16 Team Manitoba.
The final U16 Team Manitoba roster will compete at the 2023 Canada Winter Games which are scheduled to take place from February 18 to February 26, 2023, in Prince Edward Island.
"It feels really good, I know what it's like to be on the other side of a tryout," said Gower. "To advance to the Top-40, it feels absolutely unbelievable. There are so many talented players, it's a special feeling to be among them."
Gower isn't the only Ranger to be invited to the camp as Sam Swanton has also made the Top-40. Meanwhile, Brady Turko of McCreary and Easton Odut of Dauphin have also been invited, they played with the Brandon Wheat Kings this season and won the league.