His hockey career was done at 20. Time to hang up the pads and focus on college.
Or so thought fun-loving Vernon Viper graduate Danny Todosychuk, now a member of the Grant MacEwan University Griffins in Edmonton.
Viper head coach/GM Mark Ferner, who Todosychuk made laugh pretty much every day at the rink, made some calls and caught a break.
The Griffins were forced to start searching for net detectives in July when two returnees left: one for law school in Australia and one for a full-time career outside of hockey.
“It’s a unique situation and the timing worked out well for both parties,” said Griffin head coach Bram Stephen, entering his fourth year with the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference team.
“We understand he’s a good teammate, a good player and competitive kid, a good character player all around.”
Todosychuk will have half his tution covered and expects more funding as a sophomore. He’s stoked about the new adventure.
“I was enrolled and just getting ready to go to OC (Okanagan College) and pay for the first semester when Ferner called and said he may have found something for me,” said Todosychuk, who handled truck deliveries for Kekuli Bay Cabinetry all summer.
“I told myself ‘It’s OK, you’re not going to be playing hockey anymore’ and then this happened out of the blue. I don’t know anything about the school and don’t know one person on the roster, but I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Todosychuk talked to some NCAA Division III schools, but wasn’t prepared to shell out $60,000 to play. He also discussed hockey with the Calgary Dinos, but things were most serious when Griffin scout Neil Brimmage contacted Danny.
The athletic 5-foot-11, 180-pound Vernon minor hockey product went 12-8 last season with a 2.57 GAA and .911 save percentage. He spent four years with the Vipers, accepting a brief demotion to the Junior B Golden Rockets with class in his second season.
“He’s been one of my favourites,” said Ferner. “He has a great personality and is a great teammate. Over the years, things didn’t exactly work out the way he wanted. He had a good year (last season) but he had a tough year as well. He stood up for his teammates (in a brawl in West Kelowna) and got suspended six games and he got run over in the pre-game skate in an exhibition game in Prince George.
“It’s funny how things worked out for Danny. The coach at Grant MacEwan said he won’t finish his career there; he’ll be on a CIS team.”
That means that Todosychuk may get scooped up by a CIS team or actually play CIS for the Griffins, who will become tenants of the Edmonton Oilers’ new 1,000-seat practice new facility and thereby become eligible to join the CIS.
Todosychuk, who was even spotted at a local gym with his older brother, Randy, also played quite a few rounds of golf this summer. Griffins’ camp opens Sept. 1.
They play in a conference along with the NAIT Ookpiks, SAIT Trojans, Red Deer Kings, Portage Voyageurs, Concordia Thunder, Briercrest Clippers, Augustana Vikings and Keyano Huskies.
SNAKE BITES: F Michael Roberts deked and went five-hole for the shootout winner as the Blacks shaded the Whites 4-3 to open the Vipers’ main training camp Friday afternoon at Kal Tire Place. “I had to send a vet out there after eight or nine shooters missed,” laughed Viper assistant coach Kevin Kraus. Roberts, an effective emergency player down the stretch last season after ripping up Junior B in Revelstoke, is one of 70 players in camp..There are two games today, from 9-11 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. before cuts are made. The annual Blue vs White game goes at 7 p.m….F Chase Tippett, whose uncle, Dave, coaches the Phoenix Coyotes, is here after getting 11 goals and 23 points with the Prince Albert Midget AAA Mintos. He’s 17.