Former Prince Albert Raiders Harrison Ruopp is adapting to life in professional hockey after four years in the WHL. He is currently suiting up with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League. He is shown during a game last season. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Former Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Harrison Ruopp has made it to the professional ranks.
After attending training camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ruopp briefly cracked the NHL roster before being sent down to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate; the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the third round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Ruopp attended training camp with the Coyotes before being dealt to the Penguins.
The Penguins shipped defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the Coyotes for Ruopp, goaltender Mar Cheverie and a third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry draft.
“Overall it was a great experience, “ Ruopp said of his second training camp experience. “Everything is very eye opening. You get a feel of exactly what it takes to make it to the next level. They are very helpful with you in your development and it’s great to meet all those guys up in the NHL.”
Ruopp, a native of Zehner, about 40 minutes northeast of Regina, played all four seasons of his junior career with the Raiders, a organization Ruopp holds in high esteem.
“I wouldn’t have had it any other way or been with any other team,” he said. “It was a great experience for me being in Prince Albert. On the development side of it, I don’t think I’d be where I am now if it weren’t for the people that helped me along the way in P.A.”
In 217 games over four seasons with the Raiders, the stay-at-home defenseman tallied 59 points and 395 penalty minutes.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound shut-down defenceman is touted by scouts for his physical game and his ability to deliver big hits.
What Ruopp misses most from Prince Albert is the roaring crowd at the Art Hauser Centre and the city’s passionate hockey community.
“Just the atmosphere around the rink, I get that here as well, but the staff and coaches, billets, people that I’ve met along the way, I’ll miss,” he said.
Eagerly awaiting his American League debut with the Penguins, Ruopp is looking to take his game to the next level and earn a call up to The Show.
“It’s very exciting for me to make it to the point of where I am at,” he said. “I am looking forward to proving myself. It will be a huge year for my development, just working hard and taking in as much as I can to move forward in my development.”