It is often said that a team’s best recruiters are its players.
If you treat them right and run things the right way, word will get around.
Ryan Donohoe is the perfect example.
The 20-year-old was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario. Chilliwack Chiefs goaltender Mitch Gillam was his best bud.
Gillam came west to play junior A hockey last season and never let Donohoe hear the end of it.
“You’ve got to come to Chilliwack,” Gillam said, hounding his friend at every opportunity.
Donohoe gave it only passing thought until the offseason, when circumstances forced him to consider alternatives.
“I was traded from Peterborough (the OJHL Stars) to Wellington (the Dukes) about halfway through last year,” Donohoe explained. “My rights were supposed to go back to Peterborough after the season was done, but that never happened. The Lindsay Muskies bought the Stars and my rights went to Lindsay.”
Donohoe didn’t have much interest in relocated to Lindsay, a small little town about 40 minutes from home.
“There’s not much going on there,” Donohoe said.
Gillam’s sales-pitch kept going through his head.
“Every time we hung out he pushed it, the building and the fans and the coaches. He kind of made it sound like a no-brainer,” Donohoe laughed. “I played four years in Ontario and figured it was time for something different. The BCHL has a rep as a highly scouted league with a lot more skill, and I can tell that’s true just from the exhibition games I’ve played.”
Donohoe’s biggest transition isn’t on the ice, where his six-foot-one frame and soft hands will help him make an immediate impact.
Off the ice, he’s got a whole lot more to get used to, and he’s happy to have his best friend helping him to get settled in.
“I’m really close to my family and my friends, so that’s the hardest thing I’ve got to deal with right now,” Donohoe said. “And I don’t even have internet right now. But all the guys have been really nice and really made me feel welcome. Can’t ask for much more than that.”
Donohoe and the Chiefs are in exhibition action this weekend.
Chilliwack visits the Surrey Eagles Friday night, and hosts Surrey Saturday night at Prospera Centre.
Puck drop is 7 p.m.