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Terry Ryan makes surprising return to professional hockey with a punch on his 47th birthday

Terry Ryan: Terry Ryan, as usual, made no attempt to hide his emotions during his postgame interview following his surprising return to professional hockey on Sunday afternoon.

The former Montreal Canadiens draft pick played for his hometown Newfoundland Growlers against the Adirondack Thunder despite a flu outbreak that left the Growlers short-handed. His ECHL debut was his first professional hockey game in 21 years.

Ryan, who played briefly in the NHL in the 1990s because of his passionate and aggressive tendencies, broke down in tears as he recounted his first professional game in front of his 13-year-old daughter Penny Lane.

“Looking up and seeing it and hearing the applause. I honestly never expected to hear that applause again in my life.”

Ryan was having “five or six beers” with friends Saturday night when he got a call from Growlers forward Zach O’Brien. Ryan said he hung up the phone believing it was a prank.

A few minutes later, he got a call from his development coach, Adam Pardy. He got in a taxi and went straight home.

“I would say I drank four quarts of water, had a snack and went to sleep,” he told the Growlers’ postgame broadcast. “It was interrupted sleep. I was pretty excited.”

“I wouldn’t do it if it was for advertising purposes.”
The Growlers called up players from the local senior league on several occasions, but were hampered by a national law stating that players who took part in a professional game after January 10 were no longer eligible to play in the amateur leagues. This meant none of the typical emergency call-ups were involved.

NHL commentator and podcast host Paul Bissonnette created excitement among fans when he announced Ryan’s return on Hockey Night in Canada. Ryan has been a frequent guest on Bissonnette’s Spittin’ Chiclets podcast and has also gained popularity as an actor, playing veteran hockey player Ted Hitchcock on the Crave series Shoresy.

Ryan expressed fears that the move would be seen as a publicity stunt, but he claimed it was not and told Growlers head coach Matt Cooke that he was ready for anything.

“I wouldn’t do it if it was a publicity stunt,” he joked. “I skate, and when I came here today, I said, ‘Matt, if you want me to play, I’ll play like I always do.'”

A hockey player wearing a white and red outfit.
The Montreal Canadiens drafted Ryan seventh overall in 1995. Although he was a potential prospect for the club, his career did not live up to expectations.

Early in his career, Ryan emerged as a power forward who could score goals and take on the toughest opponents in any league. This tough approach took its toll on his physique and eventually took its toll. Ryan quickly went from someone competing for a job in the NHL to working the minor leagues with little hope of advancing further. His career ended after a 12-game stint with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL in 2002–03.

Ryan said he struggled at times with the weight of expectations and the disappointment of losing.

That changed with Penny Lane.

“My life got so much better when he was born,” she told me.

Returning to old habits.
Ryan wasn’t sure if he made the mandatory roster or if he would even play.

WATCH I. Terry Ryan describes the experience of playing his first professional hockey game in 21 years.

Terry Ryan’s birthday party was cut short by a ring call with the Newfoundland Growlers.

He believed it was a joke, but left the bar immediately when he heard he would be on the ice the next day. Former Montreal Canadiens draft pick Terry Ryan said playing with the Newfoundland Growlers on Sunday night was a dream come true after the club was short-handed due to illness.
“I thought if I at least did some cardio, I wouldn’t go out and embarrass myself,” she told me.

Cooke took Ryan out of the game on the opening shift.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little more nervous than I admit,” Ryan told me. “Yeah, I’ve played before, but I used to joke with the kids: You get sent down for two weeks, but twenty years is a little too much.”

It’s an honor to be my age and be able to go out and be a part of everything. – Terry Ryan
Despite the crowd chanting “We want Terry”, he was rarely used from then on, but he did have a goal opportunity later in the game when he ran towards the goal and nearly knocked down a loose puck.

The peak of his performance came in the third quarter and the audience saw Terry Ryan’s classic performance once again.

Two hockey players got into a fight.
Ryan fought Adirondack forward Zach Walker, who was born three years after he was drafted into the NHL.

Adirondack winger Zach Walker hit Growlers defenseman James Melindy hard, knocking him to the ice and sending his helmet flying. Ryan ran Walker down the ice and challenged him to a fight.

Ryan walked onto the ice throwing a few left jabs, then a few right hooks.

“What have I got to lose?” “I’m supposed to lose that fight,” he joked after the bout.

The highest reward
Ryan was named the Growlers’ player of the game and his teammates took him on a mini victory lap on the ice after the game.

His mother, father, children, friends and ex-wife were also there, and the local crowd was chanting his name.Terry Ryan