There are players who make a difference a couple of times a season, and there are those who change the game every shift.
And then there’s Chris Ryan.
Ryan, a sophomore forward on the Holy Cross hockey team, ran away with the CHSHL ‘B’ scoring title, scoring more goals (27) and dishing out more assists (16) than anyone else in the league.
Only one other player in the entire CHSHL, St. Raymond’s Eddie Perez in the ‘C’ division, scored more goals and had more points than Ryan.
But it’s more than his scoring prowess or his uncanny ability to set up his teammates for scoring opportunities that make Ryan the obvious choice for TimesLedger CHSHL Player of the Year. It’s what he does when he doesn’t have the puck that separates him from everyone else.
“He’s probably one of the most legitimate players in this league in a long time,” said Christ the King coach Pat Boller. “He can control the game and he uses his ice well. He’s always moving his feet and he has a knack for the net.”
Players such as Ryan haven’t come along too often for Holy Cross coach Mike Mitchell, who says only two others in the program’s seven-year history — Chris McHugh, now a Knights assistant coach, and Rob Scheer at Division I Quinnipiac — had comparable skills.
“He just makes things happen,” Mitchell said of Ryan. “He’s got that knowledge of the game, a natural instinct. He knows what to do with the puck.”
What the Flushing native did with the puck, more often than not, was deposit it in the back of the net. Ryan, a 5-foot-9 sophomore forward, was twice named TimesLedger Athlete of the Week.
He scored two goals and added two assists in a season-opening 6-2 win over St. Joseph by the Sea. Ryan netted a hat trick, including the game-winner with 2:25 left in the third period in a 5-3 win over St. Edmund and scored another three goals in Holy Cross’ next game, a 5-3 win over Christ the King.
When not ruling over the CHSHL, Ryan is playing for the Long Island Gulls Midget Major ‘AAA’ team, an elite travel team in the Long Island Hockey League.