Vees Gropp commits to college, gets invite to Hockey Canada selection camp

Vees forward Ryan Gropp accepts scholarship and gets call from Hockey Canada in same day

Penticton Vees forward Ryan Gropp

Penticton Vees forward Ryan Gropp

July 4 was a big day for Penticton Vees forward Ryan Gropp.

It began with an invitation to the Hockey Canada selection camp for the under-18 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in August. Later that evening, the Kamloops resident announced on Twitter that he committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2014-15 season.

“It has been an eventful past couple of days for Ryan and his family the invitation to U-18 selection camp and now a commitment to UND,” said Vees coach Fred Harbinson in a team statement. “Ryan has had a lot of options to choose from over the past year and our organization is extremely proud of Ryan and look forward to helping him grow as a player.”

Gropp is one of 42 players vying to earn a spot on Canada’s 22-man roster. He’s also just one of two players in the Canadian Junior Hockey League going. The six-foot-three, 190-pound winger was excited to get the call, saying he wasn’t sure when it was going to happen. Now he’s just trying to be prepared to go up against the best players.

“Do all the things you normally do. Play your own game, it’s important,” said Gropp of the approach he will take into camp. “It’s a short camp so you have to do something to stand out right away.”

Gropp has donned the maple leaf before representing Hockey Canada with Team Pacific at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge last season. In 2012, Gropp earned the bronze medal representing Canada at the 2012 Youth Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Even with these experiences, he expects to feel some nerves and said the U-18 camp is tremendous for him.

“It’s been crazy every time I represented Canada,” he said. “It’s been nothing but a good experience. They really run their programs well. Just looking forward to hopefully doing it again.”

Harbinson said Gropp’s invite is a sign that he is one of the better players in the country.

“A lot of times that kind of opens players eyes to what they need to continue to do to stay on pace as an elite player,” told the Western News. “Gives some confidence at times too to say, ‘Hey, I can be one of the best players in the country at my age.’”

Whether Gropp makes the team or not, Harbinson said it will help him have a good start to his second BCHL season.

As for joining North Dakota, that was a “no-brainer” decision for Gropp and his family following their visit.

“It blew us away. Unreal facility,” said Gropp. “We felt pretty comfortable with the coaching staff. I wanted to make a decision and now I’m just really excited for that too.”

While having former Vees teammates Troy Stecher and Wade Murphy at the school didn’t play a large role in his decision, it has him excited.

“They told me good things. I’m really looking forward to playing with them again,” said Gropp, who was also looking at other schools.

A strong academic program combined with the campus not being too large was attractive to Gropp.

“I like the small-town feel,” said Gropp, who will play one more season with the Vees. “They are one of the top hockey schools out there. Pretty grateful for the opportunity. I will work hard to make an impact down there.”

In committing to UND, Gropp also joins former Vees Mark MacMillan and Brendan O’Donnell. Gropp admitted he had considered playing major junior, but after talking with his family, he decided staying in junior A and playing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association was the best direction for him.

The 16-year-old is coming off a rookie season in which he was named the BCHL Rookie of the Year. He recorded 12 goals and 31 points in 50 games and was the youngest player in the league. During the Fred Page Cup playoffs, Gropp kept up with his regular season pace, scoring four goals and finishing with nine points in 15 games.

In other Vees news, Harbinson confirmed that forward Louie Nanne will not be returning next season. The parting is a mutual decision. Nanne will be having surgery on both his shoulders and isn’t expected to return to action until near Christmas. That is close to roster deadline. With the CJHL changing its rules on imports with the number of players that a team can have and making Americans permanent imports, the club had to change direction in how they were using Nanne’s roster spot. Harbinson said Nanne will play in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, close to home in Minnesota. On July 11, the Vees acquired the playing rights of forwards Ben Dalpe and Tim Moore from the Pembroke Lumber Kings in the Central Canada Hockey League for future considerations. Dalpe is the younger brother of former Vee and current Carolina Hurricane forward Zac Dalpe.

“He’s just a kid that has gotten better and better over the last couple years,” said Harbinson of Dalpe who played for Canada East last year. “He is coming into his own. I think he is going to add some scoring up front for us. Just a hard working kid. Great character kid.”

The Vees will be speaking with Moore to see if he will join the team. He has plans to play for the Amarillo Bulls in the North American Hockey League and has a scholarship.


Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

(Drive BC photo)
Vehicle incident closes Highway 3 east of Osoyoos

Drive BC says to avoid the area until the road is clear

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read