MJHL Podcast Feature – Written by Kyle Prystupa, Interview by Erik Swar, MJHL Media:
Growing up in the area of St. James it was a perfect fit for Ryan Smith to establish his junior career right in his own backyard. “For me it was a great place to play, you know I didn’t have to go anywhere to play junior hockey, I was able to play in my home town and my home area…” comments Smith on his fortunate opportunity to play with the Canadians.
Following three strong seasons in the MJHL with the St. James Canadians as a scoring forward (131GP-140G-158A, 298PTS), and a short stint with the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), Smith advanced to the University of Manitoba Bisons (USports) before stepping into a lengthy 11 season professional career overseas.
Smith returned to the MJHL as a coach in 2008 beginning as an assistant but soon took over the head reigns of the Winnipeg South Blues due to a staffing change, “I started as assistant coach, by Thanksgiving I was the Head Coach and you know you’re thrown into the fire pretty quick.” The following season Smith began his first full season as a head coach with the Selkirk Steelers where he coached the club to 183 wins over five seasons and earned MJHL Coach of the Year in 2014.
Following a short stop in Humboldt as Head Coach and General Manager, Smith found himself in his first Western Hockey League coaching position as an Associate Coach of the Swift Current Broncos. After winning the 2018 WHL Championship with Swift Current, Ryan moved onto the Medicine Hat Tigers where he now is an assistant with recent NHL head coach Willie Desjardins.
For more, listen to the full MJHL Podcast interview with Ryan Smith hosted by Erik Swar. The MJHL Podcast takes you inside the league each week with recaps, stories, interviews, rankings, and weekend previews. The MJHL Podcast will be available on all major platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.