Ripley Wolves gunning for league title

Posted: September 26, 2018 in News and notes

The Ripley Wolves are ready to build off last season’s franchise-best second overall finish in the WOAA Senior A hockey league.

The Wolves have deepened their roster by adding Ripley native Garrett Meurs to their already potent offence, while welcoming back Walkerton’s Drew Davidson, who took last season off after being a part of one of the league’s top lines previously with the Wolves. They’ve also added depth to their blueline, adding four players from the area, as well as a goalie with international experience.

Meurs, a fifth-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in 2011, split time between the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League the past few seasons, before returning to his roots in Ripley. Meurs should be the best forward in the league on a team that already features excellent scoring depth, said head coach Dustin Catto.

“Garret is gifted offensively, thinks the game well, has great foot speed and is extremely competitive,” Catto said. “I know a lot of people in Ripley are excited to finally see Garret put on his hometown jersey.”

Davidson is a top-six forward on any team, and recently rounded out one of the league’s best scoring lines with Brett Catto and Cody Britton, before taking last season off.

“Drew is a smart, two-way player, and will put up big points,” the head coach said. “If you’re going to be successful in this league, you need guys like him on the ice at all times.”

The Wolves have also signed Ben Hughes, of Barrie, who was a fourth-round pick of the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs, and won a Jr. B MVP award in 2015 with the Ancaster Avalanche. He finished his Jr. B career with back-to-back 100+ point seasons with the Stayner Siskins.

“He is huge – 6’4 or 6’5,” Catto said. “Everyone we talk to says he is the real deal, a massive body, great passer, moves really well, and has soft hands for a big guy. We’re very excited to add him.”

On defence, the Wolves have added two Listowel residents, who helped their hometown Cyclones to two Cherry Cup wins and last year’s All-Ontario Sutherland Cup championship. Keaton Willis was a Jr. B All-Star, and arguably one of the best defencemen graduating from the league, Catto said.

“Keaton’s small, but he certainly doesn’t play that way. He’s mobile, and has offensive talent, buoyed by a heavy shot. He’s a fierce competitor who plays a foot taller than he is.”

Blake Nichol was the Captain of the Cyclones for the past two seasons. The Kingston Frontenacs draft pick is a born leader, and a solid top-four defenceman, Catto said.

“He has an aggressive style, and he keeps you honest. Blake’s a great skater and strong in his own end. We couldn’t be happier to add a winner like Blake.”

Paisley native Robert White has played Jr. B with the Cyclones and Jr. C in Kincardine, where he won a league championship. He’s a puck mover who can play in any situation, Catto said.

“Robert doesn’t back down and he’s coming here to win. He’s an honest, hard worker who earns every inch of ice.”

Kincardine resident Payton Dunlop rounds out the additions to the Wolves’ defence. Dunlop was a two-time GMOHL champ with the Alliston Hornets, and has also suited up for the Kincardine Bulldogs.

“Payton plays the game tough and doesn’t back down from anyone. He attacks pucks and bodies, and has a heavy shot from the blueline. Fans are going to enjoy watching him play because he’ll do anything to win.”

In net, the Wolves have added Chesley native Ryan Macdonald, who won a Sutherland Cup with the Stratford Cullitons, and played with the London Knights and Guelph Storm of the OHL, winning the OHL’s best Goals Against Average (GAA), and best rookie GAA. He moved onto the ECHL before playing six seasons in Germany, where he faced current Wolves sniper Brent Walton.

“Everyone says the same thing… once he gets his feet wet he will be the best goalie around,” Catto said. “He’s small and moves very well, and he plays the puck like you have another defenceman.”

The Wolves get their season started on Saturday, Oct. 6, in Port Elgin at 7 p.m. Their first home game is Saturday, Oct. 13, as they look to avenge last year’s five-game playoff defeat to Durham. Game time is 7 p.m. The home opener is part of the Hockey Day in Ripley celebrations, which will also see the Kincardine Bulldogs play at 4 p.m. See the full schedule at

The Wolves executive is also bringing back its popular monthly Quiz Nights, which begin Friday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m., at the Ripley Curling Club, and run the second Friday of every month through May. There are spots for 10 teams of eight at this bring-your-own-beverage event, and pre-registration is encouraged by texting or calling Dwight Irwin at 519-525-7106, or sending a message to him via Facebook. Cost is $20 per player, with the winning team receiving half the proceeds.

The Wolves will also hold their second annual Christmas Dinner and Yuk Yuks Night on Friday, Nov. 23, at the Ripley Arena. There are only a few tables of eight left, so gather your friends and celebrate the upcoming Christmas season! Tickets are $600 for a table ($75 each). Contact Dwight to book your spot.

As always, follow the Wolves on Twitter @RipleyWolves, friend the team on Facebook, and get game reports, season stats, and recognize our sponsors at

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