Ryan Hanes returned to his roots and reached a milestone when the Prince George Cougars hosted the Kelowna Rockets in a doubleheader on the weekend.
The 20-year-old native of Kamloops played in his 200th career Western Hockey League game Saturday, collecting an assist on Chase Witalas third period power-play goal.
For me, the most memorable thing would be the players Ive played with the whole time and the friends that Ive made, said Hanes.
He also included the seven-game playoff series last spring between the Kamloops Blazers, his team at the time, and Portland Winterhawks to his list of favourite memories. The Blazers rebounded from an 0-3 deficit to tie the series at 3-3 before Portland prevailed to move onto the WHL final against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Hanes added that the milestone wouldve tasted sweeter if the Cats had played a better overall game instead of dropping their fifth straight decision.
Its definitely not good when you go out and lose 8-4, he said. Weve got a lot of work to do and were going to get back to the drawing board here and, hopefully go to Portland and get a couple wins.
The Cougars (12-22-1-4) play in Portland on Tuesday and Wednesday in their first meetings of the season with the western conference leading Winterhawks (33-5-1).
Hanes joined the Cougars in November after spending his first three WHL season with the Blazers. In his 200 games hes accumulated 21 goals, 48 points and 334 penalty minutes, including a five-minute major Saturday when he jumped to teammate Jarrett Fontaines aid and drop the gloves with Rockets centre Tyrell Goulbourne. The 18-year-old Rockets player had delivered a blow to Fontaines head, with no penalty call, a few seconds prior to Hanes stepping in to dole out punishment.
Since joining the Cougars, Hanes has collected five goals and eight points.
I wish I could get more but Im just plugging away trying to get it in the back of the net here, he said.
The other significant thing Hanes did came in Fridays 4-2 loss to the Rockets (29-10-1-1) when he took a few shifts on the blueline, something he hadnt done since switching to forward in his first year of bantam hockey.
It was different but its kind of cool to play a little bit of both, said Hanes. I dont know about my backwards skating.
Due to injury, illness and players being away at tournaments the Cougars were down to four defencemen Friday, so Hanes took a few shifts on defence to give Dan Gibb time to catch his breath after double-shifting with Sam Ruopp and Michael Mylchreest.