As per SJHL Communications, Laury Ryan is stepping down at the end of the season.  I'm sure this will invoke a lot of different responses, and I'm positive it will lead to interesting discussion on the SJHL Fan Forum

Here's the official release with my thoughts afterwards...
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After serving for eight years, SJHL President Laury Ryan is announcing he is stepping down at the end of this current term. In making this announcement, President Ryan wishes to acknowledge the many people in the present and in the past, involved with the member teams and their contributions to the league. 
 
During Ryan’s term, the SJHL has prospered and is considered by many as one the top junior “A” hockey leagues in Canada. The league has seen many developments including the creation of the World Junior “A” challenge which allowed junior “A” players and coaches to represent Canada for the first time in history. The establishment of the SJHL Hall of Fame that in 2011 will see its third induction ceremony as the league recognizes its past heroes. The Saskatchewan Development Model, which coordinates elite hockey in Saskatchewan and the Junior A Supplement, that is a partnership with Hockey Canada and four other Junior A leagues are considered key achievements. The SJHL has had a successful run with league teams participating in six RBC championships finals collecting three national championships. The SJHL also became the first Junior “A” league in Canada to have live games broadcast across the province including the Credit Union Cup Championship series on cable television.
 
“It has been an honour to represent the league on behalf of so many great individuals who work tirelessly in their respective communities to make their franchises viable and successful. Any and all the good things that were achieved are a testament to their efforts” stated Ryan, “It has been an honour to serve as President of the SJHL”
 
On behalf of the SJHL board of Governors I would like to thank Laury for his many years of service and numerous innovations and contributions to the league and wish him the best in his future endeavors.” SJHL board of governors chair Rick Shultz said. “The SJHL management committee will be advertising and accepting applications for the position of SJHL president.”

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I spoke to Board of Governors Chair, Rick Shultz shortly before the announcement went public.

Click to Listen

I've heard many different fan opinions of the man in my first year in the league.  For myself, he never turned down an interview request when it was made, even surrounding the events with Justin Ducharme's suspension early in the season. He answered some tough questions then and later in the season.  We also had a good time on one of the webcasts with some fan submitted questions.  In my time speaking to Laury he was always friendly, respectful and he provided good insight into the state of the league and the on ice product.

While there have been decisions made this season from the league office that I may not agree with (again Ducharme Suspension), this is a tough time for the men in the President's position across Junior-A hockey.  The Junior-A supplement doesn't have too many fans and these are the guys that take the brunt of the complaints about it.  Hockey is going through a transitional phase with rule adjustments to make the game safer and take violence out of hockey, all that good media fodder.  There are a lot of people involved in that process, but the commissioners/presidents are the ones that get demonized for it.  Not to mention we already love to hate them as much if not more than the guys in stripes.

It's a tough job, and someone's gotta do it.  Laury Ryan was that guy for the SJHL.  Even if you're not a fan of his, you've got to admit, it's not an easy job being the caretaker for a junior hockey league.

Good luck Laury on your future endeavours. 

Now that the league will surely be looking for someone to fill the position, I put myself and Curtis forward for the position as co-presidents.  I will do my best to prevent him from creating a "Mandatory Fish-Tossing Rule", but no promises.

On second thought, maybe we should stick to doing Ice Wolves Webcasts.

If we can get the tech figured out, we'll have an audio interview with Laury Ryan in the first intermission of the Webcast.

-D

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