NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX – More Brahmas are on the move up and this time the good news has come in a pair.
Both Ryan Dunner and Victor Ekk will spend this week with North American Hockey League teams attempting to earn a roster spot.
Dunner, who is having an MVP-like season, is off to west Texas where he’ll attempt to provide a boost in both scoring and speed for the Odessa Jackalopes. The Jacks have a lot of size on their roster but are lacking in the finesse category.
“[I’m] real excited for these two guys to get a chance at the next level. Ryan is red hot for us right now, coming off of South Division Player of the Week honors two weeks in a row, lighting up the scoresheet for us,” said Brahmas head coach Al Rooney.
#22 will practice with the team in the coming days before a decision is reached later this week if he will travel with the team to Topeka where the Jacks take on the RoadRunners this weekend.
“The speed he has and his ability to make plays at speed I think will allow his game to translate to the next level well. He just needs to pay attention to details on the defensive side of the puck and he will do just fine.”
Ekk, is heading to Springfield, Illinois where he will attempt to give the Jr. Blues an increased knack for the net. The Russian sniper spent 16 games with the team in the NAHL last season but then took his talents to the Oklahoma City Jr. Blazers of the Western States Hockey League before coming to Brahmaland.
“Similar to Ryan, his offensive ability there is no question about. He has the speed, skill and strength to play there, it will be his ability to play on both sides of the puck that will be the difference whether he stays or not,” Rooney said of the forward.
Similar to the situation with Dunner, Ekk will skate with the team the next few days before finding out if he will be accompanying them on their trip to Fairbanks.
In terms of whether one or both of the players will stay Rooney said, “Ultimately it will be up to the respective staffs of Odessa and Springfield who will make the decision. Even though it would leave a huge void in our lineup, I want nothing more than for them to earn spots up there and stay. That's what this is all about, developing guys for opportunities elsewhere regardless of how it affects my lineup.”
Dunner and Ekk join Mykyta Sheptytsky and Brandon Perrone on the list of NA3HL Brahmas who have earned time at the next level already this season. Sheptysky spent three games with Lone Star in November-December, and Perrone spent roughly two weeks with the Big Brahmas while their goaltender Conor O’Brien was playing Tier I United States Hockey League.
Stay tuned to find out if Dunner and Ekk will be hanging around at the next level!