Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | July 11, 2011

Man of the Day 7/11: Ryan Kesler

Ryan James Elwin Kesler

Born August 31, 1984 (age 26) in Livonia, Michigan, USA

Center and alternate captain for the Vancouver Canucks

Continuing with an American theme, today we focus on a guy who is undoubtedly one of the best players on the Canucks roster.

Hockey is in the family – his dad played in college and not only coaches a team but runs a hockey school. In fact, when Ryan was 13 and was cut from every AAA club he tried to join, he turned to his dad’s team. When the Brampton Batallion picked him in the 2000 OHL Priority Draft, he chose to play with the U.S. National Team Development Program because it was close to home and he could finish high school. After two seasons and 99 points in 131 games, he got a scholarship to Ohio State University and played there for a season, taking them to the  2003Divsion I NCAA hockey tournament. They lost in the opening round, but hey, it was the third time in the school’s history that they made it that far.

Good job, May Ray!

From Ohio State, Kes went on to the 2003 NHL Draft and was selected 23rd overall by Vancouver. Rather than go back to OSU or head to Brampton, he signed a three year entry-level contract with the Canucks. But after attending training camp and playing in the preseason, they shipped him off to the Manitoba Moose (now relocated to Newfoundland). He bounced between them and the Canucks for the 2003-04 season and probably would’ve joined the Canucks for the next season, but the league went into lockout. That left Kes in Manitoba, where he got the Moose to the AHL playoffs.

Once the lockout ended in 2005, he joined the Canucks and never looked back. But things looked bad in the 2007-08 season, when Anaheim’s Chris Pronger stomped on Ryan’s leg WITH HIS SKATE. Pronger eventually got an eight-game suspension, and Ryan had 37 points and 21 goals during that season.

Fast forward to this past season. He played all 82 games in the regular season and had 73 points (41 goals, 32 assists) and led the Canucks to their first President’s Trophy (to the team with the highest points total in the league). In the postseason, he helped the team reach the Stanley Cup finals even though he and other teammates were playing injured. A week after the Bruins won the Cup, Kes was given the Selke Trophy for outstanding defensive forward – he had almost three times as many votes as second-place finisher Jonathan Toews. That’s on top of the silver medal he won in 2010 as a member of the U.S. Olympic hockey team.

Fun fact: Kes has two kids – son Ryker and daughter Makayla. He’s taken Makayla to a few games, and she is incredibly presh.

One last thing you should know about Kesler: he really likes lurking in the background while his teammates are being interviewed. This is how he does it. Oh Kes, never change.

He calls it "Where's Kes," but we call it "Kestrolling."

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