By Nick Barnowski -
Born into a family that has hockey in their DNA, River Rymsha is carving out his own path on the ice.
The son and nephew of pro hockey players Andy and Steve Rymsha, respectively, River is focused on becoming the next member of the family to rise to the top levels of the game.
The Huntington Woods native will be attending Dartmouth College in the fall, but first he made a stop at the Detroit Red Wings’ annual development camp from July 4-8 in Traverse City.
“Growing up in Michigan, I’ve been going to Wings games since I was a little kid,” said the 17-year-old Rymsha. “You watch the Lidstroms and the Kronwalls, all of those guys, you learn from them, and to wear the same jersey as them, it’s quite an honor.”
Despite being one of the youngest players at the camp, Rymsha was upbeat about the way he performed while Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Assistant GM Ryan Martin, among others, were watching.
“I learned that I can compete with the best of the best,” Rymsha said. “I learned that you can go to another level even when you don’t think you can.”
The Wings attempted to parallel the camp experience with what professional hockey is like as much as possible, scheduling on- and off-ice sessions in the morning with many other informative classes throughout the week.
“Pretty much all of the practices and games were high in intensity,” Rymsha said. “Everybody’s working hard to try to impress the coaching staff. It’s good to get that kind of exposure going into the college season.”
The experience could prove to be valuable for the defenseman as he enters his freshman year at Dartmouth, located in New Hampshire. Rymsha committed to the Big Green in November of 2012.
He’ll move on to the college ranks after a successful junior hockey career that included a lengthy stint with the Little Caesars program. He began his Little Caesars run in 2005 as a squirt and aside from one season with St. Mary’s Prep continued with the club up until 2013 as a member of their U18 team.
“A lot of great players come out of Michigan,” Rymsha said. “I’ve played against [Red Wings 2014 first round draft pick] Dylan Larkin my entire life, it’s fun to play against him. For all of them to be here, it’s a dream come true.”
Rymsha’s strong puck-moving ability and high hockey IQ will help him make the leap to college hockey, but advice from his hockey-playing relatives could be useful too.
“They just tell me to go out and play my game,” he said. “They say to play smart and if you do that, and you compete and play with enthusiasm, then good things can happen.”