Byron RitchieAthlete Ice Hockey 2012
Born April 24 1977, Byron Ritchie grew up in North Delta. As a youngster, Byron was blessed with the gift of speed and an athletic awareness. He played multiple youth sports and excelled at them all: soccer, lacrosse, football, track and hockey. Byron was consistently an all-star, top scorer and leader on each team he played.
Although talented in all sports, ice hockey was Byron’s passion. His hockey career began early when, at just three years of age, his father took him to his first parent and tot Skate. In 1984 Byron was finally old enough to play organized hockey. Starting at the Novice level, it only took one season before Byron’s talents were recognized and he was moved up to the Atom Rep level.
His minor hockey career continued through 1993 when his Bantam “AAA” team won the Provincial Championships. In that championship year, Byron amassed 253 points (102 goals – 151 assists). At the Western Canadian Championships he was selected First Team All-Star.
While not drafted, Byron attended try-outs with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League and made the team as a sixteen year old rookie. Playing for Lethbridge from 1993 – 1996, he had many highlights including: leading scorer, MVP awards, Western Hockey All Star selections, Memorial Cup First Team All-Star and being drafted by the Hartford Whalers of the NHL.
Byron’s professional career began with New Haven in the American Hockey League; however he was soon called up to the Carolina Hurricanes to make his NHL debut in 1998. By 2001 Byron was an AHL All-Star when he was traded to the Florida Panthers, where he scored his first NHL goal against the Edmonton Oilers. In Florida, Byron became an Assistant Captain before suffering a serious injury. Byron resumed his career with the Calgary Flames, playing from 2004 through 2007 when he left Calgary to play for the Vancouver Canucks during the 2008 season. His career then took Byron to Europe where he now plays for Berne in the Swiss Elite League.