At 5 years old, Ryan Rottenbiller would pack up his hockey gear, load it into the car with his father and take the one-hour-and-20-minute icy drive from East Glacier to Whitefish for hockey practice – twice a week for two seasons.
Now 17, sitting on a stool at the Stumptown Ice Den with the sound of pucks pounding off the glass nearby, the senior at Whitefish High School reflected on those drives around Glacier Park with a particular understanding.
“It showed his commitment,” said Rottenbiller of his father. “I wouldn’t be as good as I am without that. He’s definitely my hero when it comes down to it.”
This year, because of changes in the Canadian League rules that set the age limit at 17, the Avalanche lost a core group of seniors. It’s Rottenbiller’s time to be a leader.
“I have a completely different mindset,” said Rottenbiller. “I can lead in toughness, experience, awareness, positioning and advice.”
As captain, his goal is to, “get the younger kids into a group that can win.”
After graduation, Rottenbiller would like to take his experience to the collegiate level and hopes to play club hockey for the University of Montana.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.