PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ryder Thompson has some great balance in his life. He’s excelling as a student athlete in a way that few can even fathom.

The 17-year-old is in his second season with the Portland Winterhawks and is listed as a “player to watch” by NHL Central Scouting for the 2022 NHL draft. That’s something he’s working hard to achieve.

“It’s part of my job you could say. It’s what I love to do so I take pride in that,” Thompson told KOIN 6 News. “My academics and my hockey, something my parents and my coaches really emphasize, so I just try to take pride in that.”

He was getting ready for Junior Hockey League game in British Columbia when he spoke with KOIN 6 News.

“School work and classwork is pretty important from the bus, but even though movies can be pretty tempting, but at end of day I don’t want to fall behind in school. So, that’s something I try to grind away on the way back or on the way there.”

The defenseman is very good on the ice and in the class. Most of school is done remotely and he was the Winterhawks’ co-Scholastic Player of the Year for 2021, winning the High School Team Award.

Ryder Thompson, 17, is in his second season with the Portland Winterhawks, November 4, 2021 (KOIN)

“My long term goal is to be a professional hockey player, and hopefully getting drafted into the NHL and being apro player. But if that doesn’t pan out, then I’d like to go to school and take kinesiology.”

He said his favorite subject is math, using problems and solving word problems. “I like writing, whether it’s typing or handwriting, like sharing stories and thoughts and throwbacks,” he said.

Between the travel, practice, meals with his team and other team obligations, you’d think school work would be low on his to-do list. But that’s the furthest from the truth.

“Takes a little adjusting, getting used to, but all the resources are here,” he said. “Coaches and teachers are all supportive so that makes it super easy with balancing and everything. Then it just becomes daily routine and muscle memory.”