GUELPH– Isaac Ratcliffe has been busy the last month. In November, the Philadelphia Flyers prospect was chosen to represent the OHL in the CHL-Russia Series, where he recorded a goal. As the captain of the Guelph Storm, Ratcliffe has generated 19 goals and 13 assists in 27 games played. Against the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday, Ratcliffe had two shots on goal and was a +1. It is the product of another successful season for the youngster. He continues to improve his skill set every day.
“It’s huge to get a dominant win over a historical rival in Kitchener,” stated Ratcliffe after the game. “It’s nice to showcase our offensive and defensive strengths to get a much needed win in front of the home fans.”
Ratcliffe Impressed Guelph With Size and Hockey Sense
A native of London, Ontario, Ratcliffe’s dream was always to play professional hockey. Like any Londoner would pursue, Ratcliffe joined the London Jr. Knights Triple AAA Minor Midget squad and shined, scoring 22 goals and recording 27 assists with the team in the 2014-15 season. It is no surprise that the Guelph Storm selected the young prospect in the first round of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection Draft.
As the Storm personnel saw, Ratcliffe utilizes his size to his advantage, setting a physical tone to every game he plays in. He has fantastic hands and can beat opponents to the puck with his strong protection abilities. Throughout his time with Guelph, Ratcliffe has demonstrated terrific speed, with a high affinity to handle the puck and create scoring opportunities. Among OHL left-wingers, he is the leader in shots on goal.
As Guelph Storm coach George Burnett explains, it is the work ethic that Ratcliffe possesses that makes him a leader all young hockey players should emulate.
“Isaac’s work habits on the ice and in the gym set an excellent example for everyone in our organization,” stated Burnett. “Through his hard work and dedication, he has emerged as one of the elite players in the Ontario Hockey League.”
Ratcliffe Demonstrating That Philadelphia Flyers Made Correct Choice
While Ron Hextall may no longer be the general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers, he made an astute choice in the 2017 NHL Draft. He traded up in the second round to select Isaac Ratcliffe with the 35th pick. The young prospect has delivered and is looking like a future star for the Flyers.
After a slow rookie season, Ratcliffe took off during his sophomore season. With a middle of the pack Storm team, he put up 28 goals and 26 assists in 67 games played. The year after the Flyers drafted Ratcliffe, he posted his best season yet. He recorded 68 points in 67 games. This gave Ratcliffe an opportunity to play in the AHL for the Flyers-affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms, where the youngster recorded his first professional goal. Ratcliffe saw very quickly how faster the game is in the AHL compared to the OHL.
“It’s a lot faster game,” Ratcliffe stated. “When you get the puck on your stick, it has to go right off. You have no time, and it’s a lot faster, too. You really have to keep your shifts short and keep your energy high as much as possible.”
After appearing in the Flyers’ development camp for the second straight year, Ratcliffe is clear on what he needs to do to get to the NHL full time.
“Philly noticed me a lot because of my size. They want me to focus on the little things, which include playing to my size and being strong in the corners,” said Ratcliffe. “As one of the biggest guys in the OHL, I have the opportunity to showcase my size but also my offensive touch every game.”
Ratcliffe Eyeing World Junior Squad
Isaac Ratcliffe is committed to getting Guelph to the playoffs for the second straight season. After the Storm’s win over the Kitchener Rangers 8-1 on Sunday, the team improves to 14-7-3-3. They are in perfect shape to have a strong second half of the season.
Not only is Ratcliffe a star on the ice but he has been an active member of serving the community of Guelph. From participating in the organization’s Read to Succeed and FunFit programs throughout schools in Guelph to organizing dinners for young Storm fans battling cancer, it is clear that Ratcliffe values the importance of using his platform as a hockey player to give back to the community.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with great staff that encourage us to go out and help the community of Guelph,” said Ratcliffe. “It brings me great joy to have the support behind you, even as I move onto the next stage of my career.”
With the World Junior Hockey Championship occurring this month, Ratcliffe is eager to show the Team Canada coaches that his work ethic and hockey skills can transfer in helping his country win back to back gold medals in Vancouver.
“Every Christmas since I can remember, I have great memories watching the World Juniors,” said Ratcliffe. “All of my hockey idols played in the World Juniors so it would be a dream of a lifetime to wear the red and white and try to win a gold medal for my country.”
Embed from Getty Images