Big Finish With Waterloo Helps Ryczek
Jake Ryczek gave the Waterloo Black Hawks a late-season offensive boost from the blue line and Saturday the Chicago Blackhawks chose the defenseman during the seventh round on the second day of the National Hockey League Draft in Buffalo, New York.
Exactly one round earlier, Chicago snagged Blake Hillman, a 2014/15 Waterloo blue-liner who followed a similar path to Young Arena after playing elsewhere in the USHL.
Ryczek came to the Cedar Valley in a trade from Sioux City during February, appearing during 18 of the Hawks’ final 19 regular season games. Waterloo finished the season with a mark of 11-4-3 while the 18-year-old was in the lineup. Ryczek had 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in those games. During the Clark Cup playoffs, he appeared in all nine Waterloo contests and recorded four assists.
“Jake was an important piece of our team when we were playing our best hockey of the season,” noted Head Coach P.K. O’Handley. “He has strong offensive skills and was very successful at getting the puck to the net in power play situations.”
Waterloo is building a draft history with the Chicago Blackhawks, who also selected Vince Hinostroza during the sixth round in 2012. Jan-Mikael Juutilainen was the first Waterloo player to ever be chosen by the NHL’s Blackhawks in 2006.
Ryczek is committed to Providence College.