Ryan Hofer plays a rough and tough style of hockey.
He calls it « a bit of meat and potatoes ». And that perfectly describes his work ethic and why the Washington Capitals loved him enough to ink the 2022 sixth round in March.
Now he’s on the national stage, playing with hosts Kamloops at the 2023 Memorial Cup. But it’s familiar territory for the Hofer family: the Winnipeg, Manitoba product is the younger brother of the St. Louis Blues Joel Hofer, who was part of Swift Current in the team’s 2018 tournament. Acadie-Bathurst won that year, so the younger Hofer will be looking to outperform his big brother.
One thing that immediately stands out with Hofer is his work ethic. He’s still one of the hardest working bodies on the ice when you watch him in practice or in a game. Blazers play-by-play commentator Jon Keen described Hofer as « Super Mario, where he eats the star and then goes nuts for 25 seconds. »
However, her blue-collar, never-quitting attitude stems from her father, who owns a construction company and worked tirelessly to support the family. Ryan equates much of his success to his father, who put him to work with a hammer at a young age and showed him what hard work can do for you.
When asked how the past few months have been since joining Kamloops in a blockbuster trade, now the chance to play in the Memorial Cup, Hofer smiled, saying, “I’m super grateful; this exchange really helped clinch the ticket with Kamloops as host. I’m really grateful to be here and to be able to absorb it all and have a lot of fun.
Hofer has 17 goals and 32 points in 30 games since being acquired by the Blazers in a blockbuster WHL trade, alongside blue-line prodigy Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips. Between the two clubs, he registered a team leading 40 goals.
When asked what it was like to have Zellweger as part of this deal, Hofer replied, “You know, Zellweger was a big addition to this trade as well. It was nice to have a familiar face too, and when I got here everyone was very welcoming.
It didn’t take long for Hofer to find his groove in Kamloops and start throwing his weight around and becoming a devastating devastation in front of the net. He models his game after Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry, Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn and Chicago Blackhawks forward Reese Johnson.
What do all these players have in common? They all played in the WHL and each was a man among the boys in their respective years. Hofer is not afraid to take on any opposing player. At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 pounds, he’s a tough body to move off the puck, using his strength to drive towards the net and make life hell for the opponent. Throughout the Blazers’ playoffs that saw it end in the Western Conference Finals, Hofer had 15 points in 14 games.
The Blazers lost their Memorial Cup opener 8-3 to the Quebec Remparts on Friday night. Hofer picked up his first Memorial Cup point and added an assist for New York Islanders prospect Daylan Kuefler’s first goal of the tournament. In Kamloops’ 10-2 win over the Peterborough Petes on Sunday, Hofer scored his first goal and added an assist.
Hofer will use his size and physicality to stop the opposition throughout the tournament. The Blazers will face the Thunderbirds on Wednesday in a round robin, a game they are familiar with. Hofer will play a pivotal role as the Blazers look to win the Memorial Cup championship for the first time since 1995 – then he’ll make the jump to the pros next year.
You got a good one, Caps fans.