The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club, proud members of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), are pleased to announce that Esmark Stars U16 AAA Hockey defenseman Ryan Hastings has committed to play hockey for the Kanata Lasers Jr. A club for this upcoming season.
The Lasers, members of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) are located in Kanata, Ontario, just outside of Ottawa City. The Lasers compete in the CCHL's Robinson Division.
The 6’0”/175 lbs. native of Apollo, PA, led Esmark's U16 defenseman in team NAPHL scoring during the 2017-18 season with 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists in 17 regular season games, including 4 power play goals. He added 1 assist in four NAPHL playoff games. He also skated for the East team at the 2018 16U NAPHL All-Star game and scored a goal.
Overall, Hastings, who captained the U16 Stars to the Mid-American District championship and a spot at the 2018 USA Hockey National Championships in Philadelphia, PA, recorded 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists) in 52 games for the Stars.
During the 2016-17 season, Hastings recorded 15 points (2 goals, 13 assists) in 77 games for the U16 Stars, including 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 27 NAPHL games. He helped lead the Stars to their first ever Dixon Cup as league 16U playoff champions of the NAPHL during the '16-'17 season.
Hastings began his Stars career skating for the Stars U13 team during the 2014-15 season. He would then go on to skate for the Stars U15 team during the 2015-16 season.
"Ryan has worked hard for this opportunity,” said Esmark's 16U head coach Yuri Krivokhija. “He is a high-skilled defenseman with a high hockey IQ."
The Pittsburgh-based Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club is the oldest Tier I (AAA) program in the Mid-Am District (Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania) of USA Hockey and one of the oldest Tier I (AAA) programs in the nation.
For 34 years the Stars program has provided elite amateur ice hockey players the opportunity to be showcased on a local, national and international level.
The CCHL began as a development league founded by the Montreal Canadiens in 1961. Seeking a place in Ontario for its' prospects, the league was built and used as a prime source until the draft system changed in the late sixties. By the seventies, CCHL teams were among the best in Canada. A reemphasis on development took place in the eighties when the league created rules and regulations that ensured younger rosters and an emphasis on development.This philosophy remains today, as the CCHL annually sends a large number of young players to higher levels.
Players from across North America have enjoyed success playing in the Central Canada Hockey League. Utilizing the league as a stepping stone, each season dozens of players accept Division I and III NCAA hockey scholarships, as well as spots with Canada's U Sports, Canada's governing body for university sports, which is the highest level of play at the Canadian university level.
In addition, young players advance every year to the Ontario Hockey League and most seasons there are selections from the CCHL directly to the National Hockey League.
Centrally located in the Ottawa region, the Lasers play a 62 game league schedule.
The CCHL has been home to dozens of NHL stars, including Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds, Patrick Sharp and Jimmy Howard.