Former Los Angeles Jr. King Ryan Orgel has announced his commitment to attend and play his NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Denver.
Playing this season for the North American Hockey League’s (NAHL) Lone Star (Texas) Brahmas, the defenseman will leave immediately and join the reigning NCAA Division I champions for the remainder of the 2017-18 campaign.
“It’s a dream come true,” Orgel said. “It’s something I’ve been working my entire career for and I’m very excited to join such a prestigious program.”
“I think it’s awesome for him, our program and the NAHL,” Brahmas head coach Dan Wildfong added. “For Denver to take a guy and trust he’d come in there and play right away is awesome for everyone.”
Orgel says the commitment was a relatively easy decision to make.
“I’ve been to the campus a few times and I’m thrilled to get to Colorado and get things started at DU,” he said. “It’s also great that it’s closer to home (than some other NCAA programs).”
Spending last season with the NAHL’s Wichita Falls Wildcats, Orgel skated in the United States Hockey League during the preseason before returning to the NAHL. He joined the Brahmas after September’s NAHL Showcase and made an immediate impact upon his return to Texas.
The Los Angeles native scored five goals and added two assists in 11 games and was a critical component on the team’s top-line power play.
“He obviously has a pro shot,” said Wildfong. “His brain and his puck-handling skills are elite; we played against him in Wichita Falls and he scored a lot against us and those are the kind of guys you want on your team. I feel he’d have scored 15 to 20 goals with us here this year.
"Denver got a pretty good player. Anyone who’s a defenseman and can score like that, I believe he’s going to be college-ready,” Wildfong said.
After spending a season playing junior hockey in Canada, Orgel flourished in the NAHL, scoring 39 points in 70 games.
“Playing in the (NAHL’s) South Division was extremely beneficial for me and my development,” said Orgel. “It took my game to the next level and really prepared me for college."
Orgel also has nothing but good things to say about playing hockey growing up in California.
“And to continue on to my junior hockey career was the path I took and the path I wouldn’t change for the world,” Orgel said.