Good kids generally come from good families. And this is a good kid from a good family. A young man who went from celebrated hockey star and academic standout at Sault College to a rookie police officer who was seriously injured in the line of duty, Ryan Vendramin was given due recognition on a night in his honour.
Accompanied by his parents, Mark and Sheila, his siblings Stephanie and Paul, and his girlfriend Brittany Syms, the 26-year old injured police officer was saluted in a stirring ceremony at Rankin Arena before a hockey game between the Sault College Cougars and their alumni team.
Prior to becoming a police officer, Vendramin was a scoring sensation at Sault College, leading the Cougars to an American Collegiate Hockey Association championship in 2019 as the only Canadian school in the ACHA. In his two seasons with the hockey Cougars, Vendramin led the ACHA in scoring and was named its most valuable player both times.
And in the classroom at Sault College, he graduated from the police foundations program with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Prior to Sault College, Vendramin’s on ice accomplishments included being a local standout with the under 18 Soo North Stars before becoming an Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Sarnia Sting.
As part of Sault College’s Ryan Vendramin Recognition Night, the local hero — who is recovering from being shot while on duty in September of this month — was wheeled onto the ice of Rankin Arena accompanied by his family and surrounded by school officials, team personnel, police chief Hugh Stevenson, fellow officers, mayor Christian Provenzano, and local member of provincial parliament and cabinet minister Ross Romano.
It was Sault College manager of athletics Paul Orazietti who then announced that the Cougar men’s hockey team would be retiring Vendramin’s number 8 jersey.
As for Vendramin’s boss, aforementioned police chief Hugh Stevenson noted that he was at the injured officer’s bed side during his initial recovery period and relayed that “in the five days I spent with Ryan I never once heard him complain. He never ever once wavered. He had his fresh smile and the support of his family. I think that’s something I will never forget — the character of this individual.”
An emotional Vendramin thanked everyone from his family to Sault College school and team officials to his fellow police officers to “anyone who sent me well wishes and prayed for me” in the time since his injury.
Vendramin’s injury required a femoropopliteal bypass, vascular surgery and a skin graft — and with subsequent recovery period that could take up to two years.
“I have managed to make some good strides so far,” Vendramin noted. “I am going to keep working hard doing the physiological work and following the diet to try to get back to my normal life as soon as I possibly can.”
In closing and on a personal note, of the many duties that I have performed during my ongoing career in the sports media that dates back to 1975, one of the most flattering was being asked to be the master of ceremony for the recent Ryan Vendramin Recognition Night.