Ryan Santana is exhibit A of the type of guy who always went about his business the right way and worked hard for every second of his ice time. Santana started his freshman year after a season with the Vernon Vipers in the BCHL, where he played with future teammate Sahir Gill. They would win the RBC championship that year. Santana began his career with a 0-1-1 line in 2009-2010, collecting his first collegiate point on a Ross Gaudet goal. Despite the unimpressive point total, Santana had a solid freshman season as he made his living grinding it out and mucking it up along the boards. I remember one of the first things I noticed while watching him play was how hard he skated every single shift he was out on the ice. Ryan's work ethic and commitment to each and every shift never wavered in his time at BU.
Sophomore year was more of the same for Santana as he continued to work hard and see plenty of game action. He potted his first collegiate goal against Northeastern on his way to a 1-2-3 line. Impressively, he only committed two minor penalties the entire season and also continued to improve his skating ability and speed. Ryan missed the first half of his junior season due to off-season shoulder surgery but bounced back in the spring semester to score 3 goals and record a personal best 7 points off a 3-4-7 line in only 22 games. A memorable off-ice moment from his junior season was his attempt at the Rhett's challenge. It entails eating an absurd amount of food including a triple bacon cheeseburger, fries, root bear float, and an ice cream sundae. He failed the attempt but anyone who even tries that gets points in my book.
This past season was Santana's best as he posted a solid a 2-10-12 line and saw plenty of ice time. Santana was a huge asset to this team this year more than any other, logging minutes on the penalty kill and power play. He played solid on the fourth line all year but was able to jump up to the second line when asked, such as when Evan Rodrigues went down with a hand injury in January. Coach Parker summed it up best in a quote from a WTBU story after the game: “He doesn’t have the cleverness and the creativeness that Evan has but he has a big heart and he worked hard,” Parker said. “There was a no-brainer to put him there.” Classmate and sometimes linemate Ben Rosen went on to describe what it is like to play with Santanimal: "Sants is one of the best guys on the team, the biggest, most underrated guys I think we have,” Rosen said. “He brings a ton to the table and without a guy like him it’s a totally different team."
Santana will certainly be missed on the ice next year, and the special teams will have a big hole to fill for sure. His play may go unnoticed to the casual fan but he was crucial to the team's success this past season. Sants is a guy you love to have on your team and love to cheer for. We don't know if he will continue his hockey career or use his degree from BU to get a "real job," we do know one thing for sure: Ryan will work his ass off at whatever he does, just like he did for four years at BU.