Warren Rychel played 406 games in the NHL and, by and large, earned his way with his mitts. 1422 penalty minutes attests to that. No one could ever question what kind of teammate he was and his passion for the game of hockey. A passion that makes him one of the finest GM's in all of the CHL.
The Vice President and GM of the Windsor
Spitfires continues to be the architect of an organization that won back
to back Memorial Cups in 2009 and 2010. One of the best moves he has
made during his tenure, and there have been many,
just might end up being the acquisition of his own son.
Kerby Rychel is
enjoying a tremendous season with the Spitfires. He has scored 33
goals and added 27 assists in 56 games this season. The 17 year-old
forward's journey to this point, has been quite
a journey indeed. I will never forget walking into Windsor's WFCU Centre on the day of the 2010 OHL draft in preparation for game three of
that league's championship series between the Spitfires and the Barrie
Colts. If I hadn't known better, I would have
thought the reigning champions from Windsor were down 2-0 rather than
being up in the set. The mood in the building, and in the Spits office,
was one of anger and bitterness. Warren had every intention of using
his second round pick on that day to select
his son. A matter of fact, there almost seemed to be an unofficial
agreement within the framework of the league, that the move was going to
Not so fast. With their first round pick, the Colts grabbed
Kerby Rychel 21st overall. Make no mistake, Dad
and the rest of the Spits were some kind of upset. Upset is no where
near strong enough. The Spitfires went on to sweep a very good Barrie
squad in 4 games, and the rest is history.
Kerby Rychel never played a
game in Barrie. He was traded to Mississauga
prior to the 2010-2011 campaign, and then subsequently moved on January
5th of last year to Windsor. One day after, the Los Angeles born,
Rychel played a significant role in helping Team Ontario to a 5-3 win in
the Gold Medal game of the World Under 17 challenge. The younger Rychel chipped in with a goal and an assist in the decisive
contest and was named his team's player of the game. Kerby was also a
member of a Team Canada squad that won a gold medal at the Under 18 Ivan
Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August. Chances
are if the rebuilding but still very competitive Spits bow out in round
one, Kerby will make his way back to the Czech Republic in April to
play for his country at the World Under 18 Championship.
isn't eligible for the upcoming NHL draft because
of an October birthday, but if he continues to perform the way he has,
the Tecumseh Ontario product will certainly be a top prospect for 2013.
Going back to things you never forget. In Rimouski at the 2009 Memorial
Cup I watched, then 13 year old Kerby, skate
with the likes of his father and others almost every morning in 3 on 3
games. You could see an absolute passion for the game, and a developing
skill set then. Can I say with certainty that I saw a budding junior
star back then? Maybe not. However, from
all accounts, Kerby is a chip off the old block.
I have met very few
people in the game with the need to be successful as his father. Kerby
is blessed with far more skill than his dad. And now that the Rychel's
are reunited can you imagine how special it
would be in the next couple of years if Kerby led the Spitfires to
another Memorial Cup. Don't be surprised if it happens. Don't be
surprised if it doesn't happen in 2014 right at the WFCU Centre.