Photo Credit AndyMorrison-Toledo Blade
Austin Gryca signs with Laconia Leafs
Over the last four season of Ohio High School there have been many constants. One has been Sylvania Northview goalie Austin Gryca, #30. Austin took the Ohio hockey scene by storm, and did what he said he would do. "Help Northview win their first State Championship." Year one the Wildcats fell in the district finals. Year Two his sophomore campaign the Wildcats, oddly fell to Wildcats. The St. Ignatius Wildcats in the Championship, which as a loss is still arguably one of his best individual performances. In his third season the Wildcats lost to Toledo St. Francis, in the one game they needed to win, as they had been the only team all that season, that had been able to beat the Knights (2010-2011 State champions). It came to year four, his Sr campaign where he and Phil Bowels combined into the best goalie tandem in state history. Most people, myself included don't go for tandems, especially with a season as short as the Ohio season. Mike Jones head coach of the Wildcats does it his way. When he saw this capable pair, instead of riding one horse, he lashed them both to a chariot and rode them in race that would make Spartacus proud.
As the numbers go advancement to Jr hockey is hard enough. Then add in the exponential goalie factor where any given team carries two to three and your dealing with far fewer teams at every higher level., and each and every spot is highly coveted. The Laconia Leafs and the AJHL have been producing and taken part in devleoping NCAA National Champions, Major Jr Memorical Cup winners and NHL players. The Leafs are a proud team with a rich hockey tradition just added an Ohio High School State Champion, who once again is a rookie in the hockey life cycle.
Last year the AJHL-MJHL combined for for nearly 100 NCAA D1 and D3 varsity commitments, and just over 10 players being selected to play in the CHL.