Ripley Wolves gunning for league title

The Ripley Wolves are ready to build off last season’s franchise-best second overall finish in the WOAA Senior A hockey league.

The Wolves have deepened their roster by adding Ripley native Garrett Meurs to their already potent offence, while welcoming back Walkerton’s Drew Davidson, who took last season off after being a part of one of the league’s top lines previously with the Wolves. They’ve also added depth to their blueline, adding four players from the area, as well as a goalie with international experience.

Meurs, a fifth-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in 2011, split time between the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League the past few seasons, before returning to his roots in Ripley. Meurs should be the best forward in the league on a team that already features excellent scoring depth, said head coach Dustin Catto.

“Garrett is gifted offensively, thinks the game well, has great foot speed and is extremely competitive,” Catto said. “I know a lot of people in Ripley are excited to finally see Garrett put on his hometown jersey.”

Davidson is a top-six forward on any team, and recently rounded out one of the league’s best scoring lines with Brett Catto and Cody Britton, before taking last season off.

“Drew is a smart, two-way player, and will put up big points,” the head coach said. “If you’re going to be successful in this league, you need guys like him on the ice at all times.”

The Wolves have also signed Ben Hughes, of Barrie, who was a fourth-round pick of the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs, and won a Jr. B MVP award in 2015 with the Ancaster Avalanche. He finished his Jr. B career with back-to-back 100+ point seasons with the Stayner Siskins.

“He is huge – 6’4 or 6’5,” Catto said. “Everyone we talk to says he is the real deal, a massive body, great passer, moves really well, and has soft hands for a big guy. We’re very excited to add him.”

On defence, the Wolves have added two Listowel residents, who helped their hometown Cyclones to two Cherry Cup wins and last year’s All-Ontario Sutherland Cup championship. Keaton Willis was a Jr. B All-Star, and arguably one of the best defencemen graduating from the league, Catto said.

“Keaton’s small, but he certainly doesn’t play that way. He’s mobile, and has offensive talent, buoyed by a heavy shot. He’s a fierce competitor who plays a foot taller than he is.”

Blake Nichol was the Captain of the Cyclones for the past two seasons. The Kingston Frontenacs draft pick is a born leader, and a solid top-four defenceman, Catto said.

“He has an aggressive style, and he keeps you honest. Blake’s a great skater and strong in his own end. We couldn’t be happier to add a winner like Blake.”