Ryley Prediger making impact for Predators in return to lacrosse

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Ryley Prediger of the Prince Albert Predators handles the ball during Founders' Cup play-in action at the Kinsmen Arena on Friday night.

Picking up the sport of lacrosse is like riding a bike for Ryley Prediger, well sort of.

The rookie forward for the Prince Albert Predators is back playing lacrosse after a four year hiatus away from the sport while he completed his high school studies and played volleyball.

Now that he is in university, Prediger made the decision to return to lacrosse and help the Predators defend their Prairie Gold Lacrosse League (PGLL) title.

“I was playing volleyball for high school and it cut into lots of lacrosse.” Prediger says. “I just took a break from lacrosse after COVID and decided to try (just) volleyball and then I just decided to come back. My brother is playing and so are lots of my buddies.”

Going from a non-contact sport in volleyball back into an aggressive contact sport like lacrosse is a challenging transition. Prediger says it hasn’t been easy, but he has enjoyed getting back into lacrosse.

“It’s a big difference obviously, it’s been a little rough. My first practice was a little rusty, but I’m for sure getting back into it.”

It took some persistence from Predators head coach Lucas Wells to bring Prediger back into the fold. Wells, who had coached Prediger when he was younger, says he would constantly check in to see if he was interested in making a return to lacrosse.

“I became a part of the Predators organization in 2022. I phoned him and asked him to play. In 2023, I phoned him and asked him to play. Finally last year after we won, he came up to me. He came to camp, like any other player. Roster spots aren’t guaranteed. You see him on the floor, he looks like he’s been playing in the league for three years now. I coached him when he was 13 and 14, like I did all the other kids his age. He was a leader then and you can see him now slowly morphing into a leader which is awesome to see. I’m so excited that he’s back.”

After a lengthy break away from the sport, Wells says Prediger has come back eager to learn and has made the most of opportunities for Prince Albert.

“Practice is great, but it’s not the same as playing in a game against an opponent that wants to hurt you and is willing to beat you up. He kind of just slid right in. I think it helped that nobody really knew who he was. You’ve seen his point totals drop a little bit, but he’s still getting the chances. And he’s not necessarily finding the goals, but he’s finding the apples. He’s still an integral part of our offense and he’s learning the game quickly. He’s asking a lot of questions.”

Predigers ranks sixth on the Predators in scoring this season, with nine goals and six assists in just six games played.

Coming into the season as an unknown across the PGLL, Wells says several coaches have inquired about Prediger and where he came from because of the impact he has made this season.

“It’s nice when you have guys that are texting you that don’t know who he is. He’s made a name for himself now. People got to watch out for him. He’s a shooter. I think our offense enables him to find a bit more space. You got (Brayden) Rieger, (Matthew) Cudmore, (Braden) Shewchuck and his brother Cadyn on the left side and they all mesh so well together. We’re not a selfish group which helps him tremendously.”

The Predators return to action on Friday night when they welcome the Queen City Kings for the first game of the best-of-three Founders’ Cup play-in series. Ball drop is at 7:30 p.m.