Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis, 20, has signed with the Red Deer Vipers of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League. (File photo)

Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis signs with Vipers

The hockey player is expected to join the lineup Jan. 5 against the Stettler Lightning

One of three hockey players injured in a campfire accident earlier this year has signed with the Red Deer Vipers.

Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis will join the Heritage Junior B Hockey Team in the new year, the Vipers announced on Twitter Thursday.

The 20-year-old centre and two friends, who are also hockey players, were injured in a campfire accident in June at a home near Cochrane – police said a substance was placed in a firepit causing an explosion.

Vandervlis, who played four season with the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, was left with severe burns on nearly 60 per cent of his body and was initially placed in a medically-induced coma after the incident. After 11 weeks he was released from Foothills Hospital in Calgary, but continued daily out-patient rehabilitation for another four to six weeks.

Vipers coach JD Morrical said he’s excited to get Vandervlis into the lineup.

“Seeing a guy who’s been through some really tough times get another shot and play some hockey with his friends is a really good story.

“He’s going to bring a ton of leadership. He knows a good chunk of our players and they all really respect him,” Morrical said. “He has a lot commitment to detail and I think our guys will learn a lot from him.”

READ MORE: Red Deer’s Ryan Vandervlis discharged from Calgary hospital

Morrical said he expects it’ll take a bit of time until Vandervlis is back in game shape.

“The year before this year he had shoulder surgery so he only got about 20 games in. He hasn’t played a lot of hockey lately,” Morrical said, adding Vandervlis just had two ingrown toenails surgically removed.

Despite not playing in a game since last season, Vandervlis has been practising with the Lethbridge Hurricanes this season.

“I talked to their general manager and the only reason they didn’t take him is because he’s a 20-year-old – they can only have three 20-year-olds in the WHL. I think he was very close to making the team,” said Morrical.

The plan is to get Vandervlis into the lineup Jan. 5, when the Vipers host the Stettler Lightning.

“It’s nice to get a Red Deer guy back playing for the Red Deer team. It’s a nice boost for the community,” said Morrical.

More to come.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

94 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta on Wednesday, two more deaths

COVID-19 cases across the province rose by 94 on Wednesday. The slight… Continue reading

Red Deer mayor slams provincial plan to change 911 dispatch

Dispatch centres in Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and Municipality of Wood Buffalo affected

Olds College releases non-native wasp to kill lily beetles

Lily growers in central and southern Alberta know the destruction lily beetles… Continue reading

Red Deer family relieved that Lebanese relatives are safe after explosion

Lebanese relatives live 45 minutes from blast and said it felt like an earthquake

Heat warning issued for Red Deer and region

A heat warning is in effect for Red Deer and much of… Continue reading

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

Sports media types adjust on the fly to new normal of league coverage

Sports media types adjust on the fly to new normal of league coverage

Selena Gomez takes the heat in new cooking show

Selena Gomez takes the heat in new cooking show

Body changes, lost progress: mental hurdles face gym-goers as facilities reopen

Body changes, lost progress: mental hurdles face gym-goers as facilities reopen

Hiroshima survivors worry that world will forget

Hiroshima survivors worry that world will forget

Negligence probed in deadly Beirut blast amid public anger

Negligence probed in deadly Beirut blast amid public anger

‘Air was sucked out of the city’: Beirut resident describes moments after blast

‘Air was sucked out of the city’: Beirut resident describes moments after blast

Lebanese-Canadians look for ways to help while grappling with Beirut tragedy

Lebanese-Canadians look for ways to help while grappling with Beirut tragedy

Alberta man’s body recovered from Okanagan Lake after five-day search

‘The depth of the water, as well as the topography of the lake, made the recovery of the deceased very challenging’ - RCMP

Most Read