Ridley centre heads west
Kai Dunits turned an exceptional season with the Ridley College Tigers into an opportunity in the British Columbia Hockey League.
The 18-year-old native of Kanata has committed to the Cowichan Capitals where he will join fellow Ridley graduate Luke Haymes along with St. Catharines native and Niagara IceDogs draft pick Dawson Lukey.
“I’m really excited. It will be cool to experience a new part of Canada,” Dunits said. “It will be fun to meet a new group of guys and become closer with a new group of people in a different area and experience that again playing at the next level.”
Dunits led the Tigers with 11 goals and 26 points in 20 games in his first season in black and orange.
“Kai is an extremely skilled player who has great vision and the ability to create,” Ridley coach Mike McCourt said. “Kai distributes the puck very effectively and drives the offence with his playmaking ability. Over his tenure (at Ridley) Kai rounded out his game and became much more effective away from and without the puck.
“We were thrilled at the growth and development of Kai both on and off the ice and feel he is well prepared for this tremendous opportunity in the BCHL.”
Dunits also had the option of the Ontario Hockey League after being drafted in the sixth round of the 2020 draft by the Kitchener Rangers.
“The first two years I was thinking the OHL,” he said. “I wanted to see where I was and if I was ready. Following the second year I ended up trying out before going back to Ridley for my Grade 12 year and then I started to think I wanted to go NCAA.
“If I did go back to the OHL for my third and fourth year I would only be getting two years of education so if I’m not ready to go into the OHL and be fully ready to produce, I might as well wait and hopefully not only get a good education, but also get the college experience and four years of hockey.”
Dunits feels he is ready to make the jump.
“The coach (Brian Passmore) and been open and honest with me and he’s definitely going to give me time to settle in and and then hopefully I can move up,” he said.
Passmore loves Dunits’ skill set.
“Kai is highly skilled, a smart player and hard working,” Passmore said. “A player that can play in all situations. He is around the puck and hungry to make plays. With the puck he creates and has good finish around the net. A determined player that plays well in all zones. His ability to make good reads and anticipate plays will lead to his success with the Capitals.”
Dunits is going to miss Ridley.
“Obviously with the COVID year we didn’t get to experience the long bus rides and road trips but this year we got to experience the fun times with the guys,” he said. “We won a tournament and that was a big accomplishment.
“It was awesome. Continuously doing school work got me ready for the future. I’m not too worried about billeting next year because I’m used to the atmosphere. It was pretty cool being able to go on the ice whenever we needed to and having an NCAA-type schedule.”
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 4,300 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.