As the 2022 World Junior U20 Hockey Championship kicked off in Edmonton earlier this week, Ronan Seeley is grateful to not only be representing his country on the ice, but also his hometown of Olds, Alta.
“I think it’s a big deal for the people of Olds to have a player in the World Juniors and I’m very proud of that and I’m very grateful for what the town of Olds has done for me and about how it helped me get where I am,” Seeley said.
The 20-year-old defenseman is one of five players on Alberta’s Canadian roster and the team has had a dominating start so far, beating Latvia 5-2 and Slovakia 11-1.
Seeley has dreamed of playing for Canada since he was little and he said it fulfilled his expectations.
“There’s always a proud moment when you put on the jersey and that hasn’t changed. It’s been amazing so far,” he said.
This is Seeley’s second time playing for Team Canada White at the World U17 Hockey Challenge in 2018. He was also a member of Team Canada at the U20 World Junior Hockey Championship last December before it was canceled at Red Deer and Edmonton.
There is added pressure for Canada to perform, but Seeley said growing up in the country teaches us that Canada is at the top of the hockey world and expected to win. .
“It’s no surprise when you come here and there are high expectations for you as a player and you understand that and you accept that,” he said. “The staff here really help you with that pressure and of course the players too. They’re all supportive and they’re all in the same position as you.
His family came over from Olds to watch a few games and said it was nice to have the tournament so close to home.
Growing up in Olds, Seeley moved to play minor hockey in different parts of the province including Airdrie, bantam hockey in Red Deer, and spent a year away from home in Lethbridge playing midget hockey.
Playing in Red Deer, he explained, was a great experience and the organization treated him well.
“Ultimately, it helped me get to where I am today, so I certainly can’t complain at all,” he said.
In the 2020 NHL Draft, Seeley was selected 208th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes. He explained that he was playing the game because of his goal of playing in the NHL.
“I know a lot of people haven’t had this chance and for me, I have this opportunity, I have this chance, and I’ve been blessed with it. I’m very grateful for that and so I have always wanted to do what I can to pursue it and I’m going to do what I can to take it to the next level,” he said. “It’s just my passion and I’m just very lucky to be where I am today.”
Looking back on the draft, he couldn’t be happier to be with the Hurricanes, but admitted at the time that it was a tough day because he fell on the draft board more than expected.
“To be drafted by Carolina, it’s a pretty good organization, especially for a player like me. That day may not have been the best and didn’t turn out to be what I wanted it to be, but looking back I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. passed,” he said.
He has played the past four seasons with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. Last season he contributed 11 goals and 33 assists for 44 points and after the season he visited the Chicago Wolves, affiliates of the Hurricanes in the American Hockey League, for a few weeks. There he learned the system to hopefully make the team next season.