As the BYU Hockey season comes to a close the BYU Cougars will be holding their senior festivities on Saturday at 7 pm at the Peaks Ice Arena. For some members of the team this will be the last time they put on a BYU Hockey uniform in front of their home fans, and so in the process of honoring their contributions to BYU Hockey it is important to learn a bit about each of them. In this edition we get to know senior Ryan Newton.
Coming from Minnesota it was only natural for Ryan to pick up the game of hockey as he calls it a "prerequisite" if you grow up in the state. Growing up he loved the sport so as he moved from his younger years into his teenage years he continued to play. It didn't hurt that hockey was the family sport.
Ryan has a unique experience regarding BYU as the main reason he chose to attend BYU was because there is a hockey team. He first attended BYU in 2004 before serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Stepping away from the game for a couple of years sent him to Leon, Mexico from 2005-2007. Upon his return in 2008 he picked up where he left off and played with the Cougars through 2011. Then life took over and he decided take a semester off after starting a new job. That semester turned into almost four years and now he is back to graduate. During that time Ryan still was part of the hockey team, just not on the ice. Ryan spent the four years off the ice as an assistant coach for the Cougars as he assisted three different coaches, including current head coach Ed Gantt who coached Ryan in 2008.
As can be imagined after spending over 10 years with the team, Ryan has had a number of ups and downs throughout his playing/coaching career. Some of the most memorable experiences end up being off the ice. As a team one of the primary objectives is to foster the love for Jesus Christ and his gospel. With this objective in mind the road games turned into more than just a 12 hour bus ride, and more into an experience. There were memorable temple trips, firesides, devotionals and of course the discussions that took place between players and coaches while sitting in the bus on the road.
However, not all of his memorable moments took place off the ice. Two particular events on the ice made an impact on him in one way or another. One of his greatest one ice memories happened in his last semester before taking his break. In front of a packed house of about 1,800 fans at the Peaks Ice Arena the Cougars took on the University of Utah and walked away with a 4-2 victory for his most memorable game as a Cougars.
His most memorable moment on the ice takes on an even deeper meaning than the win, as it helped define parts of him. The experience involved Jaxon Logan, also a freshman on the team, and is told by Ryan below:
"I was a freshman in 2004. Freshman on the team tend to create the closest friendships, and Jaxon (among others), was one of those friendships. On January 21, 2005, Jaxon sprawled on the ice to block a shot from an opposing player. The puck hit him in the chest and immediately stopped his heart. He was able to get up and skate over to our bench, only to collapse when he got there. Jaxon suffered Commotio Cordis - which is arrhythmia, or sudden death from low-impact, blunt trauma to the chest. This was a hard and trying experience for all of his team members. It made me look at what was really important in life and helped define certain aspects of our lives, specifically, my devotion and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
Such deep and thought provoking experiences don't happen very often and usually have an incredible impact on lives. These experiences will continue to shape people throughout the years and will surely influence Ryan as he looks towards his future after BYU hockey. After he graduates he will be taking his next step in life and although this includes playing some type of hockey, he will be focusing on a career and a life with his wife Laci. Although Ryan and the other players sacrifice for the team and the game, the wives may end up sacrificing more. With less demands from the ice Ryan will be able to spend more time with his family and put them first in all his decisions as the future becomes his present. Ryan already has some coaching already under his belt at BYU and he also coached a Provo youth team for a couple of years. With summers off of BYU hockey he also spent four years as an evaluator and instructor for the Okanagan Hockey School in BC so don't be surprised if you see him as a coach in some capacity in his future.
Ryan leaves the Cougars after leading the team this year in assists with 12, giving him 17 points on the year which is third on the team. To go along with his assists he has also scored five goals as he has helped the Cougars to current record of 6-14, doubling the win total from last year. Just as he has had success on the ice, there is no doubt that he will continue to succeed in other aspects of life. Cougar Nation wishes you a fond farewell, for now, and looks forward to hearing all about your future successes.