Jessie Hamilton Public School
(February 2006)

Local minor hockey fans always enjoy the challenge of trying to identify the future stars of tomorrow at a very young age, albeit seldom with any degree of success. But one name that continued to pop up as we canvassed Novice and Minor Atom coaches in the past year or so is that of Walden forward Ryan Punkari.

The grade four student at Jessie Hamilton Public school has been an absolute scoring machine for the Red Devils for much of the past two years. But he knows its time to start adjusting his game. “Everyone is improved so I really have to keep working on my passing…and we can body check this year”, says the smooth-skating nine year old.

The middle of three boys in the family, Punkari was surprisingly quite hesitant about getting his start in hockey. “I was really worried just stepping on the ice, scared of wiping out” says Punkari, as father Marty notes that he waited one extra year before enrolling the youngster in Canada’s winter sport.

Like most young hockey players his age, Punkari loves to score, a skill set he works on continuously. “I’m working on my wrist shot, trying to go top corner…and my slapshot needs to be better.” Bad news indeed for opposing netminders who have witnessed far too many pucks deposited behind them courtesy of the talkative Lively native.

“I remember scoring one on my knees after getting knocked down last year – I kind of swooped at the puck” recalls Punkari of one of his favourite goal-scoring memories. It should come as little shock that the youngster lists puck-handling wizard Alexander Ovechkin as his favourite NHLer.

Spring and summer brings the onset of lacrosse to Punkari’s schedule, and he understands that there are cross-benefits to the sport. “The running is good…but I like hockey better – you can work in a few more breaks when you’re skating.”


Lea Lemieux - November 2020
Syla Swords - May 2020
James Bertrim - April 2020
Cale Bast - May 2019
Sydney Coe - May 2019
Nicholas Burke - September 2016
Adam Bertrand - September 2015
Madison Laberge - September 2015
Ariane Saumure - May 2015
Nina Kucheran - May 2014
Dario Beljo - June 2013
Noah LaPierre - July 2012
Tanner Horgan - June 2012
Kayla Folz - May 2012
Morgan Melnek - March 2012
Damien Giroux - February 2012
Adrian Kuchtaruk - June 2011
Ben Lagadin - May 2011
Kelsey Pitre - September 2010
Cedric Primeau - May 2010
Amanda Kring - May 2010
Malcolm Bilton - November 2009
Krysta Burns - July 2009
Samantha Cooper - April 2009
Bray Crowder - February 2009
Jenna Hellstrom - November 2008
Victor Hopper - October 2008
Jordyn Lacastro - June 2008
Lindsay Scruton - May 2008
Kasey Thompson - May 2007
Jacob Smith - April 2007
Danielle Coulombe - January 2007
Zakarie Glaude - December 2006
Spencer Burton - July 2006
Justin Leclair - April 2006
Matt Boivin - March 2006
Rebecca Mailloux - January 2006
Ross Proudfoot - October 2005
Mike McCue - July 2005
Cloe Lacasse - July 2005
Kristine Lalonde - June 2005
Scott Vaillancourt - May 2005
James Clendenning - May 2005
Erika Kiviaho - April 2005
Sammy Behnke-Groves - March 2005
Jaimee Lafraniere - January 2005
Trina Czerkas - January 2005
Danielle Rancourt - December 2004