By Scott Tracey
It’s nearly impossible to speak to Storm winger Kerby Rychel for the first time without “the question” coming up.
“It’s just part of the business,” Rychel says of being traded to Guelph from the Windsor Spitfires earlier this season. “I knew there was a chance I could get traded and obviously I’m happy to be in Guelph. It’s a great team that could be a championship contender.”
Many players get traded, of course, but few get traded away by their own father.
But that’s what happened when Spitfires co-owner and general manager Warren Rychel sent his talented offspring to the Royal City.
“It was hard, obviously,” says Kerby’s mom, Denise Rychel, “but I know Warren does his job very well as a general manager and he’s able to put those feelings aside and do what’s best for the Spitfires. Kerby understands the rebuilding process (going on in Windsor) so he could appreciate what was happening.”
In 22 games since joining the Storm, Rychel has 39 points; equalling his point output through the previous 27 games this season with the Spits.
But the 19-year-old insists he is more focused on the Guelph Storm’s success.
“I’ve had a lot of points and a lot of goals in my career, but right now I’m just focused on helping the team win. It’s not about me.”
Rychel was drafted 19th overall last summer by the Columbus Blue Jackets and in December signed a three-year contract with the NHL club. But he said he is trying not to think too much about what the future holds “and just focus on helping the team.”
Being focused on hockey is nothing new, of course. In fact Denise says her eldest son – Kerby also has a 15-year-old brother, Maddux, and 12-year-old sister Kendall – has been hockey mad his whole life.
She remembers when Kerby was two the family was living in Anaheim while Warren played for the Mighty Ducks, as they then were.
“We had rented this big house but we didn’t have much furniture so the livingroom was basically empty and Kerby used to play mini-sticks in there constantly,” Denise says. “Anyone that came over that’s all he wanted to do. He would play until he was all sweaty and one time he took his shirt off so his dad wrote his name and number on (Kerby’s) back in lipstick.”
Rychel remembers visiting the dressing room and hanging out with all the players when he was three or four “so I just grew up around hockey obviously, but once I started playing myself I loved it. There’s nothing I’d rather do.”
Away from the ice he swings a different kind of stick.
“In the summer I golf pretty much every day,” Kerby says.
Denise says the family home in Windsor is across from a golf course.
“He’s an excellent golfer,” she says. “I don’t think Warren’s been able to beat him in about five years.”
Scott Tracey is a Guelph-based writer. He can be reached at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @scottjtracey