El Segundo’s Orgel makes mid-season move from NAHL to NCAA champs
Ryan Orgel has always excelled in the transition game, but the defenseman from El Segundo has embarked upon his biggest transition yet.
When an opportunity knocked to jump from the North American Hockey League into Division I hockey, the 1997 birth year did just that, joining defending national champion Denver the week of Thanksgiving. The school operates on a quarter system, so Orgel was eligible to play when the Pioneers resumed their schedule in early December.
Denver had scouted Orgel, who was off to a strong start with the Lone Star Brahmas. The coaching staff offered him a spot on Nov. 19 and two days later, he was practicing with the team in Denver.
“It was a pretty easy decision because this is where I’ve always wanted to play,” Orgel said. “But it’s a unique situation joining the team midseason, but my new teammates have been so welcoming.”
Orgel had seven points in 11 games with the Brahmas after 32 in 59 games for Wichita Falls last season. He spent his youth hockey career mainly with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings, but completed it with the California Titans’ 16U AAA team.
“Being part of the Jr. Kings for most of my youth hockey career is something I’m grateful for,” Orgel said. “I got to experience things that created memories I’ll have the rest of my life. The whole journey in California was invaluable.”
Orgel, who also spent time with the LA Selects, said one of his coaches there, Bill Comrie, was instrumental in his development.
“He helped me so much as a 14-year-old moving into the next stage of my career,” Orgel said.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Orgel has a skill set that fits Denver’s template for defensemen.
“I like getting up in the play and being a shooter,” he said. “I have a simplicity to my game in the defensive zone, where I like to get the puck and make a crisp first pass.”
Orgel joins a Pioneers team that has three other Californians on its roster – sophomore Tyson McLellan (San Jose) and freshmen Jake Durflinger (Walnut Creek) and Devin Cooley (Los Gatos).
— Chris Bayee
(Dec. 28, 2017)