When Ryan Semple was a kid growing up in Yarmouth, he’d go to a lot of Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners hockey games.
Back then he sat in the stands.
This season he’s hoping to be part of the team.
Semple – who for the last two seasons has played major midget hockey with the South Shore Mustangs – was chosen as the Mariners’ territorial pick ahead of this past weekend’s MHL draft.
“I’m very honoured to be chosen by the Mariners,” he says. “Being a kid growing up in Yarmouth and going to a lot of the games, it was something I always dreamed about.”
Semple has earned his way towards a spot on a Jr. A team likely in a different way some others have in their hockey journeys. He wasn’t part of provincial hockey teams. He didn’t play in big, major tournaments. His time in minor hockey included playing on A-level teams when he was passed over for AA in bantam, despite being of AA caliber. But Semple's performance shows what hard work and determination can do both on and off the ice when it comes to the game and to training.
This past season he led the Mustangs in scoring, contributing 19 goals and 15 assists.
He also got the chance to experience Jr. A playoff hockey – albeit playing against the Mariners. He was an affiliate with the South Shore Lumberjacks.
“It was very exciting to get into some playoff games at the Mariners Center,” he says. “The atmosphere in there was very energetic. I’m excited to get the chance to be back home and play in front of friends and family.”
Semple’s family, and Semple himself, are very appreciative of the support he’s received these past two years from local business sponsors, which gave him the chance to play major midget and relocate to the Bridgewater area for the major midget seasons. Were it not for the support of these local sponsors, his family says, he may not have had the opportunity.
Semple, meanwhile, is looking ahead to the next opportunity.
“I’d say my game has improved a lot over the past two years,” he says, when asked how his play has changed. “I’ve really been working hard to improve my skating and shot, just trying to make it to the next level.”