A native of Gross Pointe, Mich., Ryan Sullivan grew up playing youth hockey in the state. He skated for Honeybaked before heading to Selects Hockey Academy, where he played his 18U year. The 18-year-old recently committed to UMass, where he plans on skating in 2019-20.
Neutral Zone chatted with Sullivan about his experience playing in Michigan, what his plans are for next year, and more.
Neutral Zone: How and when did you start playing hockey?
Ryan Sullivan: My uncle introduced me to hockey when I was 4 years old.
NZ: What’s your earliest memory from playing hockey?
RS: Scoring a goal at Joe Louis Arena in mini mites.
NZ: What was your youth hockey experience like?
RS: Playing with the Grosse Pointe Bulldogs travel team, then Honeybaked AAA for seven years, and now spending a year at the Selects Hockey Academy has made my youth experience amazing.
NZ: Take us through the NCAA recruitment process. What other schools were you talking to and where did you visit?
RS: The NCAA recruitment process for me with UMass went well, they were able to watch me multiple times and I was lucky enough to watch a couple of there games and tour their campus.
NZ: What made you decide to commit to UMass? What went into that decision for you and your family to know it was the right place?
RS: I decided on UMass because their program is heading in the right direction, they have great coaches and amazing facilities. My family and I felt like I could be a good fit for their program.
NZ: What are your plans for next season?
RS: For next year I plan on playing juniors, I am not sure yet where that will be, but my goal is to play in the USHL.
NZ: What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s given you in hockey?
RS: The best advice that I was given in hockey was to always get to the net-front area.
NZ: What are your best on-ice skills?
RS: I feel that my strengths on the ice are my skating ability, work ethic, and vision of the ice.
NZ: What aspect of your game are you working on improving the most?
RS: I am working on my shot and trying to find more ways to score around the net.
NZ: Is there a professional player you model your game after?
RS: I try to model my game after Patrice Bergeron.
NZ: Who’s been the biggest influence in your hockey career?
RS: My parents have been my biggest influence in my hockey career.
NZ: What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced in hockey?
RS: The toughest challenge that I’ve faced in hockey is recovering from a big shoulder surgery in the offseason and being ready in time for the upcoming season.
NZ: What’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced in life?
RS: The toughest challenge that I have faced in life is losing my aunt at a young age in a tragic accident.
Photo Credit: Hickling Images