ALLEN, Texas – In coming to Allen in the spring, Americans Head Coach Steve Martinson proclaimed he would build a big, strong, fast, and hard-hitting team that could score from any position.
Martinson knew one of the pieces would need to be Ryley Grantham, who having played a short stint for Martinson last season with the Chicago Express of the ECHL, was no stranger to the new Americans coach.
Grantham knew the architecture Martinson would follow and the level of toughness he expected from his players on the ice, there’s mutual respect in that regard.
“Yeah, it’s the way he (Martinson) played back in the day so he knows what we do out there and respects us,” the big winger said.
Hailing from Hanna, a cozy little town in east central Alberta, Grantham was the 6th round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The strapping, 6′ 3″ 207 pound, 25-year-old left wing made his professional debut with the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League following the draft by the Flames in 2009.
The following season, Grantham was picked up by the Gwinnett Gladiators and then the Chicago Express of the ECHL where he met and impressed Steve Martinson enough that he brought Grantham to the Americans over the summer.
“I really enjoyed my time in Chicago last year, he brought me in with about 20 games left in the season and we seemed to have a respect for each other. So when he got the job here, he gave me a call and I followed him down”, Grantham said.
Not just a tough, physical player willing to chuck them with anyone, Grantham has also chipped in some scoring, with some really pretty goals on the Americans checking line alongside fan favorite Kip Brennan and Brian McMillin. In 33 games for the Allen Americans this season, Grantham has 10 points (5G, 5A) and 91 penalty minutes.
It’s obvious to the fans and Americans opponents alike when Grantham and Brennan are on the ice; both players are known for their fierce, physical play and Grantham loves playing on the line with Brennan.
“I like playing with Kip, we’re a pair of wrecking balls out there”, Grantham says.
The Americans checking line has been anchored by Brennan and Grantham all season and it is where Grantham feels he serves his team best in the role he plays. He and Brennan both enjoy the physical side of the game and Grantham feels it energizes his play and feeds of his talents.
“I kind of like when you get more chirping, intense, more physical seems to bring a little more into my game. So I like playing like that,” Grantham commented.
Outside of the arena, one might be surprised to find Grantham counter to the hard-nosed player he is on the ice, as he’s very soft spoken and reserved, though very amiable with the fans.
Since coming to Allen, Grantham has enjoyed soaking in the local sights and atmosphere of his new adopted home in Allen, while also enjoying the nightlife and sights of downtown Dallas. He makes no bones about how he feels about living and playing in Allen, Texas.
“Oh I love Allen; it’s great. We have a great organization, a great city, great fans and I’m having a lot of fun here.” Grantham was then quick to add, “I’d love to play here again next season.”
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