Unionville grad a 7th-round NHL draft pick

A 2014 Unionville High graduate resident celebrated his birthday a bit early this year.

Ryan Lohin, a 2014 Unionville graduate, is shown in his Madison Capitals jersey.

Ryan Lohin, a 2014 Unionville graduate, sports his Madison Capitols jersey.

The day before Ryan Lohin of Pennsbury Township turned 20, he got the gift of his dreams: On Saturday, June 25, he was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round of the National Hockey League draft, the 208th overall prospect.

“It was amazing and very, very exciting,” said Lohin, speaking from Tampa, where he is participating in a whirlwind week of fitness routines, on-ice practices, coaching sessions, and even some autograph-signing.

The six-foot, 190-pound left-shooting forward said he learned that it’s not unusual for fans to collect John Hancocks from draft picks since some of them could eventually become NHL standouts – and he fervently hopes to be one of them.

Lohin said he’s been skating since kindergarten. He remembers getting on the ice for the first time at age 5 during a trip to New York City to visit his aunt. “I don’t know what happened. I just really loved skating, which then led to hockey,” he said.

None of his relatives, including his parents, Margie and Dave Lohin, skated, and from a family perspective, he might have selected the wrong sport. His grandfather, Larry File, played for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ryan Lohin says he has been passionate about skating for 14 years.

Ryan Lohin says he has been passionate about skating for 14 years.

But Lohin said his family provided what he described as “a lot of great off-ice support.” By the time he was 12, he was involved in traveling hockey teams that require a substantial commitment from the parents as well as the player.

Unlike some helicopter parents who critique every play, Lohin said his parents would ask things like: “Did you have fun? And where do you want to go for dinner?”

His sister, Danielle Lohin, who is five years older and works as a dental hygienist, tended to be more direct, offering emphatic reminders to wear his mouthguard. He heeds her advice, he said.

Lohin said his hockey background included participation in the Little Flyers in Aston. Later, during his senior year in high school, he played for Team Comcast U18 of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League in Pennsauken, logging an impressive 68 points. “It was a fun year there,” he said.

That same year, he was recruited by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and his acceptance was deferred so he could play for the Madison Capitols and Waterloo Black Hawks, both junior league teams. He left the Capitols as the club’s second all-time leading scorer, with 26 goals and 39 assists for 65 points in 108 games; during 14 games with the Black Hawks, he had seven goals and 11 assists in 14 games, according to team statistics.

Ryan Lohin is in Tampa for a week of intense drills and scrutiny.

Ryan Lohin is in Tampa for a week of intense drills and scrutiny.

Now, he will get to put the gear-shifting skills he acquired while balancing homework and ice hockey in high school to good use. He will return to Chadds Ford on Saturday in time to pack his gear and head to college, where he’s due on Tuesday.

He explained that for the next three years, Tampa Bay would have the opportunity to sign him, but that doesn’t mean he would have to abandon his business administration major if that coveted goal occurred. "I'm hoping I'll have a great few years and I'll get a call," he said.

Login said the recent success of many college hockey players has prompted teams to accommodate students’ schedules. “I would be able to take courses during the summer so I could finish,” he explained. “It might take longer, but it would be worth it.”

Lohin recalled that another family trip in 2004 reinforced his passion for ice hockey. He said they were visiting a business friend of his father’s in Tampa and got tickets to see the Lightning face off against the Philadelphia Flyers.

He said he was mightily disappointed to learn that his idol, Olympic champion Ikolai Ivanovich Khabibulin, would not be in goal for Tampa due to illnesss. Lohin’s distress prompted his father’s friend to reach out to a contact he had with the Tampa Bay team.

With appropriate Lightning speed, a signed Khabibulin jersey was delivered to Lohin's father. Lohin said his parents had the jersey framed so they could display it proudly in their home. He suspects his own Lightning jersey will also be deemed suitable for framing.

Will it replace the prized Khabibulin memento? “No, I think we’ll keep that one up,” he said.

Ryan Lohin says he feels right at home with the Tampa Bay Lightning and hopes to earn a permanent spot there.

Ryan Lohin says he feels right at home in Tampa and hopes to earn a permanent spot there.

He said his experiences prove that hard work – an average of five hours a day of weights and ice time –not only pays off but also provides motivation to continue such a grueling schedule. With each accomplishment, “the hunger grows,” he said.

“I would tell people to follow their dream,” he added, pointing out that Unionville isn’t exactly known as an ice hockey hotbed. “If you love something, stick with it. If you work at it, anything’s possible.”

 

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