NHL prospect seeks spot on Rams

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By George Nassios

A draft pick of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers wants to play goal for the Ryerson’s hockey team next year.

Patrick Dovigi, a second-round pick in 1997, is currently enrolled in continuing education courses at Ryerson. He expects to become a full-time business student in September, making him eligible to play for the Rams, who just finished its season at 4-20-0.

The addition would offset the potential loss of this year’s starting goalie, Steve Bewley, who’s currently handing out hockey resumes hoping to land a job with a professional team in the U.S.

Bewley, one of the Rams’ few bright spots this season, cannot be blamed for the team’s dismal record and failure to qualify for the OUA playoffs. The third-year business student faced more than 40 shots in most games this year.

The challenge of facing a lot of shots and helping a traditionally-weak team contend for a playoff spot is appealing to Dovigi, who will continue to seek a pro career after his time at Ryerson.

“It’s a good opportunity for me,” he said. “The more shots I face the better I seem to play.”

Dovigi would bring some impressive experience to the Rams lineup. He played just over two seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters, before being traded to the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors early in the 1998-99 season. After being drafted by the Oilers — 41st overall In the annual draft — he attended the team’s fall training camps in 1998 and 1999 and played in a few exhibition games. The Oilers, however, never signed him, giving the Detroit Red Wings a chance to pick him up. Dovigi tried out for the Red Wings this fall, but was cut from the team and offered a spot on its American Hockey League affiliate in Cincinnati.

Instead of playing in the minor league he decided to put his pro career on hold to attend Ryerson and work on a university degree. He hasn’t played organized hockey since being cut by the Red Wings.

“It’s nice to have a little break,” Dovigi said. “But now it’s time to get back at it.”

If Bewley doesn’t land a job in the U.S.-based International or East Coast hockey league and returns to Ryerson, Rams coach Ed Kirsten could have a difficult decision to make when choosing the team’s starter next year.

“We have loyalty to Steve,” Kirsten said. “But we’d have to cross that bridge when we get there. It’s a problem, but it’s a good problem to have.”

Although Dovigi said he’s “pretty certain,” he’ll join the team next year, Kirsten isn’t jumping for joy just yet.

He known from his experience as a recruiter that athletes’ can change their minds rapidly.

“I reserve my excitement until I see the body at training camp,” he said.

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