Jr. Golden Knights grad Ramos loving NA3HL experience
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Last year, Las Vegas native Danny Ramos left the bright lights for the town of Gillette, Wyo., to play junior hockey in the NA3HL.
Now in his second season with the Gillette Wild, the 19-year-old defenseman is enamored with the junior hockey experience provided by the program.
“Two years ago, I participated in the Global Showcase in Las Vegas where I was scouted and talked to by many teams,” explained Ramos. “It was definitely a big confidence booster and (Gillette coach) Steve Kruk was one of many who was waiting behind the boards waiting to talk to me after a game. After exchanging information, we continued to stay in contact and after doing some research, I knew Gillette was a great place to go.
“What appealed to me was how the program was ran and all the attributes that came along with it. The program definitely strives for a family mentality within the team, as all teams should, but this was unlike most. The team would always be helping out one another on and off the ice and helping out the community of Gillette any chance that arose. It was definitely welcoming. The team and billet family definitely made the transition from being home to coming into this town as an individual way less stressful and as easy as possible.”
Ramos’ interest in hockey started while watching the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers some 10 years ago.
“My family and I would do our best to make it to every home game and after watching a few games, I was hooked,” Ramos said. “I told my parents (Michael and Tatyana) I wanted to quit soccer and play hockey, which I’m sure definitely wasn’t an easy transition, but they somehow found a way to make it work and I couldn’t thank them enough for it.”
He then started ice skating at age 12, played house league at Las Vegas Ice Center for two seasons and then joined the travel program at the rink.
“My second house league season just ended, and they were hosting open tryouts for the Bantam AA/AAA travel team,” remembered Ramos. “I thought it was a long shot, but after being convinced by my parents, I tried out. I was most definitely not the best out there and, in my opinion, was pretty low on the list. I had only been skating and playing hockey for about a year and these guys around me had been playing since around 2-3 years of age.
“I still gave it my all as my dad told me, ‘What’s the worst that could happen? They cut you. Then you keep working until next year.’ Surprisingly to me, I made the team.”
Ramos went on to play for the Nevada Storm and with the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights high school team.
“The coaches that stand out to me were Evan Zucker and Dave Fehlig, who were my first coaches in travel hockey,” said Ramos. “They believed in me and had the confidence in me I didn’t have yet.
“Another coach I could never forget and can’t thank enough would be Nick Robone (current assistant coach for UNLV). He coached me through my Midget years and saw my full potential and worked with me and helped me understand the game way better than I ever could’ve on my own.”
Looking ahead, Ramos has short-term and long-term aspirations, including going home to play for UNLV
“I want to help lead this group to help dominate our division and get to nationals, as I believe we have a great opportunity to do so this season,” Ramos said. “Hockey has been my gateway to an immense amount of opportunities in my life. I couldn’t thank those I’ve met and have helped me along the way enough, especially my parents for making it all possible.”
Top photo/Gillette Wild
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 1, 2019)