For our second coaching spotlight, we sat down with Wenatchee’s Head Coach Ryan McKelvie. He will be at the helm for both the 18U and 16U teams for this upcoming season, which will be their first in the ECEL. Ryan played his college hockey at Minnesota State University (Mankato) while wearing a letter for the Mavericks in each of his last three seasons. Immediately after he finished his playing career, he joined Division I Bemidji State as an assistant coach before getting experience behind that bench for multiple other NCAA teams. We thank Ryan for answering our questions and we look forward to getting to know him even more throughout this upcoming season!
How did you get into coaching?
I always knew that I would want to coach when I finished playing. After my college hockey career, I had the opportunity to join the Bemidji State University Men’s coaching staff as a Graduate Assistant Coach and that is how I got my start in coaching. The three coaches at BSU were all great mentors for me and were instrumental in helping me advance in the coaching field.
How does your experience as a player influence your coaching style?
As a player, I was able to play with and against other players who have gone on to play in the NHL or other high levels of professional hockey. Seeing first-hand how those players played the game and how hard they worked away from the rink gives me specific traits/attributes that we can try to instill in our players that will help them achieve their goals.
What makes playing and coaching for Wenatchee unique?
Wenatchee is a special place for me and my family. This is a small knit community that does an incredible job supporting the local hockey teams. I was fortunate to be with the organization when the Wild first came to town as an expansion team, then left to coach college hockey, then was fortunate to be hired back when our new owner took over and I was hired to start the development teams. It is terrific to see how the Wild have positively impacted the local youth hockey community and I feel a great sense of pride in helping to contribute to this amazing community and growing the game in our part of the country.
As the season quickly approaches, what are your goals for this upcoming year?
This is the first year for our program in the ECEL. Our goal is to be highly competitive in the league, have players that represent our program with integrity, and advance players on to the higher levels of the game.