Thursday, June 05, 2008

Campus Corner: Gibb leaves Queen's to go pro

Photo: Ryan Gibb makes a save against RMC forward Josh Fudge Jan. 23. (Joshua Chan photo for the Queen's Journal)

It's been a painful couple of months for some of Queen's varsity teams. Last month, star football running back Mike Giffin and hockey forward Brady Olsen both decided to leave the university level and explore opportunities in the pros, in the CFL and Central Hockey League respectively. Giffin made the CIS first all-star team this year, finished third in the country with 1,157 rushing yards, and shattered school records in rushing, scoring, carries and touchdowns. He was drafted 17th overall by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Olsen put up team-high offensive numbers this year with nineteen goals and 32 points, and signed a pro contract with the Rapid City Rush.

Now, another star has left the Gaels. Ryan Gibb, the goalie who was named this year's OUA East MVP and was the 2007 OUA Rookie of the Year, is moving on to the Laredo (Texas) Bucks of the Central Hockey League. Gibb has probably been the most important member of the hockey team over the last couple of seasons. His CIS-best .929 save percentage played a huge role in the Gaels' division championship this year, and he was between the pipes for 11 of their 13 wins. Without his play, they may not have made the playoffs either of the last two years: in fact, the Journal's 2007 end-of-year Darts and Laurels (before I was on the editorial board) praised Gibb as "the only reason the men were able to make the playoffs this season".

Coach Brett Gibson obviously sounded a little depressed in the press release on the subject. “It’s extremely hard to lose a player the calibre of Ryan Gibb,” said Gibson. “He was a key component of our team and we enjoyed success because of his impact play. Without question he will be missed, but this is a highlight for our program. Not only have we seen some accolades within the league, but our program has been noticed by some professional teams – that’s a positive.

Fortunately, the Gaels have a solid backup option in Brady Morrison, another goalie with OHL experience who played reasonably well last year. The difference between winning and losing has been razor-thin for this team, though, so it's not looking hopeful for next year with both their top scorer and their starting goalie gone. At least they now have an arena (the Memorial Centre), but it remains to be seen how well they'll play in it.

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