Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A few minutes with...Ryan McLeod

The former Colorado Eagle talks about joining the Brahmas, changes in the league and playing at NYTEX

The Texas Brahmas made a splash with the signing of Ryan McLeod to the 2010-11 roster on July 9th. The speedy forward is busy preparing for his fifth pro season and is sure to make a big impact with the purple and black. I recently had an opportunity to speak with Ryan, who is spending the off-season at home in British Columbia. Here is our conversation.

Q: You’ve played against Texas a few times last season. I wanted to get your thoughts on joining the team.

A: I’m real excited to join the Brahmas. I know that they have a history of winning, so it’s exciting to join the team and I’m looking forward to getting started in October.

Q: You’ve gotten a taste of the Brahmas style of play. Considering that and maybe in your conversations with Fonger, how do you see your role with the team?

A: I’m not sure exactly where I’m going to fit in. I guess that depends on how I come into camp – where he sees me fitting in. I hope to be an offensive player as well as a solid defensive player. I want to play in key situations, so I’m going to work hard this summer and hopefully come in and be one of the top guys, both offensively and defensively.

Q: As a hockey player, what do you think is your biggest strength and what do you believe you still need work on?

A: I definitely think that skating would be my strength. I have pride in that and I try to use it a lot – use speed to accelerate my game. I can definitely work on my shot and you know, just little things…defensive play and positioning is a big key in the Central League, so I’ll work on those things and see where it goes.

Q: During the off-season, what are you doing to stay in playing condition?

A: I pride myself in my off-season work ethic. I usually hit the gym up and train a lot. There are a couple of guys here who play in the NHL, so I train with them a little bit here and there. I just try and work as hard as I can on endurance and strength.

Q: You’ve played with a few teams in the CHL; you’ve also had the opportunity to play in the ECHL and over in Sweden. What’s your feeling on the level of competition in the CHL versus the other league you’ve played in?

A: The Central League’s got a lot of talented players; they always have three deep lines which wasn’t the same over in Europe where we had two top lines and then the third line was a little bit weaker with younger players. The Central League overall is a great league – a lot of talent coming out of here. I think that they’re comparable – just a different style of hockey.

Q: What’s your reaction to the integration of the IHL teams into the CHL?

A: Well it’s nice because there’s a couple of teams that folded this summer so I think with these teams coming in, it’s going to be pretty exciting to have that many teams competing. I know that the IHL is a real tough league. It seems like they’re probably comparable to the Central League so I guess we’ll find out. I think it’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to getting to play against them.

Q: The playoff format for the upcoming season has been released and it’s been ridiculed by a lot of people. Have you had a chance to look at how it’s set up, and have you formed an opinion?

A: I haven’t looked into it too much…I know it’s 16 of the 18 teams make it into the playoffs. I think that’s pretty cool. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to work out. I guess we’ll have to go through one year first and see how it plays out. I think there’ll be good rivalries and a lot of good playoff hockey.

Q: As a player, do you think with all but two teams making it into the post-season, it dilutes the importance of the regular season?

A: A little bit, but I mean…I’m not too sure how this is going to work out. I think if you’re the top seeds going into the playoffs, it’s going to be a little bit different now. But I still think it’s going to be a good playoff format and I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it works out.

Q: You’ve had a chance to travel quite a bit in your career. Do you think that North Texas has a particular appeal to you?

A: Yeah, definitely. We loved coming down there last season. We came down and stayed four or five days. It’s amazing down there. I look forward to coming in there and seeing what it’s all about…just getting to travel around Texas a little bit is going to be neat. It’s nice weather and it just seems like a great spot.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the transition of playing in an arena like the Budweiser Events Center to playing at a more intimate venue like the NYTEX Sports Centre. Do you have any preference in playing in a larger venue versus a smaller one?

A: I find that if you’re an opposition team coming into Colorado, it’s fairly easy to play there because it’s a big rink; its kind of spread out but when we came into the Texas rink – it’s tough to play there. I look forward to being part of that. Teams dread coming in there. It’s a real tough rink to play in. The fans are loud and right in your face – I think it’s going to be neat to be on their side this time.

Take a look at a couple of videos of Ryan in action with the Eagles here and here


Michael Rupkalvis said...

Ryan McLeod is a great addition to the Brahmas. One of the most exciting players in the game to watch.

Michael Rupkalvis said...

Ryan McLeod is going to be a great addition to the Brahma's. I had the pleasure of watching him as a Junior in Salmon Arm, and he is one the most exciting players in the game.