Hanes reflects on Blazer career, life
Ryan Hanes knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it easier.
“I was running dryland [training] with the little kids and Bonner called me,” Hanes said.
“He said we have to have a life chat. My heart just dropped. I knew exactly what was happening.
“I had two hours to wait until the meeting. My whole body was shaking.”
At the meeting, Kamloops Blazers general manager Craig Bonner told Hanes, a 20-year-old forward, he had been put on waivers.
Many young hockey players in Hanes’ situation — disposed of before their over-age season — would have called dad looking for advice.
Hanes’ father, Bob, died from a brain tumour in 2002, so that wasn’t possible, but that doesn’t mean there was any lack of support.
“My phone was blowing up huge,” said Hanes, a born-and-bred Kamloopsian who spent three-and-a-half years playing for the team he grew up idolizing.
His mother, Annie, and older brothers, Michael and Randy, were among the first to hear the news.
“He’s the type of boy that would wish he could play his last junior year with the Blazers, but it is what it is,” said Annie, a longtime season-ticket holder.
“We knew it was coming. So did he. I had a little tear the same day he did.”
Bob’s death shaped the way his son played hockey.
“Going into games, I would always play for him,” the Brocklehurst secondary graduate said.
“I think it definitely made me a better hockey player.”
That inspiration and the support of family and friends are what kept Hanes going after his father’s death.
“My older brothers and my mom, if it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would’ve played hockey or been able to do what I’ve done,” Hanes said.
“They were huge impacts on me, and Steve Davidson’s huge in my life.
“He’s pretty much a dad to me since I lost mine.”
Davidson, owner of Kamloops Ford Lincoln, and his wife, Ladonne, were friends with the Hanes family long before Bob died.
“I didn’t think it was my responsibility to help out,” Davidson said.
“I didn’t really think about it at all. We just did it.”
Lord knows Annie could use a hand every once in a while.
If being a single mother with three sons wasn’t enough, she took two local boys — Darryl Lamb and James Friedel — into the Hanes household.
“My house is a revolving door and I don’t have a problem with it,” Annie said.
In the near future, Annie will likely have to come to terms with her youngest son leaving the nest.
“I’m upset because now he’s going to move away,” she said.
“But, it’s a good experience on his part, if he wants to continue his last year in junior.”
That’s exactly what Hanes wants to do.
He’s been entertaining junior A offers since becoming available, but is struggling to decide where to go.
“I have no idea what to do,” Hanes said.
One thing is certain: No matter where he goes, suiting up for any team but the Blue and Orange will take getting used to.
“Its been unreal to play in your hometown with everyone in town loving you,” he said.
“It gets tough at times. You feel like you’ve got pressure on you with all your friends coming out every night, but it’s definitely the most fun I’ve ever had and I don’t want it to end. But, it has now.”
Hanes recorded 16 goals, 40 points and 316 penalty minutes in 181 Western Hockey League regular-season games, all with the Blazers.
Of those 316 sin-bin minutes, 167 of them were served in the 2010-2011 campaign, when he accepted a fighter’s role.
Undersized at 5-foot-10 and weighing less than 190 pounds, Hanes’ toughness and grit endeared him to the Interior Savings Centre faithful.
“He’s not a huge guy, but he played very physical and very tough,” Davidson said.
“Everybody likes a hard-working, hometown, bare-knuckle guy.”
Well, almost everybody.
“I didn’t like watching him fight, especially when he gets hurt,” Annie said.
“I watch it all and I cringe and close my eyes. Grandma beside me . . . it’s even worse. She wants to get up and leave. It’s part of the game, though.”
Hanes played a much different role last season.
He scored eight regular-season goals — doubling his output from the previous season — and was plus-12.
“I’d rather be a goal scorer, but to be on a team, you have to accept the role the team gives you,” Hanes said.
“When we lost Josh Caron that year, I think that’s what made me become a fighter. You had to stick up for your teammates and didn’t want other teams to run over you.”
Hanes could not pinpoint a career highlight, but said he will remember most the relationships he made with teammates, noting Mark Hall was likely his favourite.
“Souts [Chase Souto] would be pretty mad if I didn’t say him, but I think it was Hallzy,” Hanes said.
A career as a schoolteacher tickles Hanes’ fancy, but No. 13 has plenty of hockey left in him yet.
When he does settle down, it will likely be in the Tournament Capital.
“I think I’ll always have a home in Kamloops,” he said.
Bob never got to see his son suit up for Kamloops, and that’s not easy for Hanes to swallow.
“I wish he could have seen my whole hockey career and the person I am today,” Hanes said.
If Bob were alive, Annie has an idea what he would say to their boy.
“That he’s very proud of him,” she said.
“Really, when you think about it, this doesn’t happen to many hometown kids.
“I’m sure Bob’s smiling down.”