Spruce Grove – The Spruce Grove Saints are proud to announce 19-year-old forward Ryan Johnstone has committed to the Lindenwood University Lions, an independent conference team that competes in NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey game play.
Lindenwood University joined NCAA Men’s Division I hockey in the fall of 2022 after a dominant run in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division I, culminating in capturing the 2022 ACHA DI championship.
The Pickering, Ontario native will join the Lions, whose campus and arena are located just 20 miles north of St. Louis, Missouri in the 2025-2026 season.
Saints General Manager Rob Sklaruk was thrilled to see his recently acquired power forward secure his academic and athletic future.
“Ryan Johnstone is heck of a hockey player. After watching him last season at the World Junior ‘A’ Championships, I knew he had to be a Saint. His combination of size, skill and finishing ability is rare to find. The release on Ryan’s shot is elite, he can play physical or with finesse, any way you want to play, he can do it. This is a real smart move by Lindenwood, especially by allowing him (Johnstone) not to rush to the NCAA and letting him play his 20-year-old season in Junior ‘A’ with the Saints, where Ryan can further develop and mature. Our group is very proud of Ryan.” Sklaruk finished.
Johnstone was acquired by the Saints from the Pickering Panthers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) this past summer after compiling 13 goals, 24 assists and 78 penalty minutes in 44 games as rookie in the 2022-2023 season.
The 6’1”, 201-pound left shot forward spoke about his recent commitment, saying, “Achieving my goal of obtaining an D1 scholarship is extremely satisfying. Lots of hard work and sacrifice has gone into this. I am so thankful to my parents and coaches for all their support as well my teammates, mentors and trainers who have been part of this journey. I’d like to thank the Saints for bringing me here and giving me this opportunity. I am extremely honored to become a Lion and can’t wait to begin my time there.”
Johnstone is the second Saints player this season to commit to an NCAA Division I school. He now joins Evan Sundar (Minnesota-Mankato), Ryder Matter (Michigan Tech University), Alexander Babich (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Carter Oakenfold (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Keifer Miller (Holy Cross University), and Teo Pisani (University of Nebraska-Omaha) as Division I committed players.