When Bobby Ryan says, “You can’t write it any better,” man, he sure isn’t kidding. After leaving the game of hockey to take care of himself and battle away at an alcohol addiction issue, Bobby Ryan returned to the NHL on Thursday. He didn’t just score once. Not twice. But three times, with a hat trick, sealing a night that will be forever remembered as one of the great hockey stories of 2020.
It was Ryan’s first home game in over three months. His hat trick helped lead the Ottawa Senators to 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks and Ryan was named the game’s first star. You could tell he was emotional when fans started chanting his name and in speaking with the media after all was said and done.
Ryan wasn’t the only one who felt a ton of emotion on this night.
“This is awesome. So happy for Bobby Ryan, who has always been one of the really nice guys in the NHL. Great for Sens’ fan to make it even more special for him.”– Bob McKenzie of TSN
“He scored a HAT TRICK in his first home game back after missing 3 months to battle his alcohol addiction. Make some room David Ayers. You’ve got company in the best-feel good story in the NHL this month.”— Ian Mendes of TSN
After 100 days of sobriety, Bobby Ryan returned to the Senators lineup and in his first game at home he gets a hattrick and a huge standing ovation! These are the moments that make hockey special— Hockey Gods on Twitter
I don’t know Bobby Ryan. I have never met him. But, man, am I proud of him.Gerry Dee – Comedian
These were just some of the comments that started making their way around social media when Ryan potted his third goal of the night.
Bobby Ryan’s Story
For those who aren’t aware, last November the Senators announced Ryan would be leaving the team to enter the NHL/NHLPA assistance program. Just last week, he admitted publicly that he was battling issues with alcohol.
When asked about how emotional the Thursday’s experience was, Ryan said he knew the community of Ottawa would be open and warm but he had no idea this is what was in store. When asked if he believed in hockey gods, Ryan admitted he didn’t think he would have been granted any favors considering what had gone on in his personal life over the past while but said, “I guess they granted me some reprieve and gave me a good night,” said Ryan.
Ryan noted the real credit should go to his wife. Saying she picked up a lot of the slack in his absence and gave him the okay to go away and get help, he didn’t know where he’d be without her. She was the real first star.
Even in defeat, the Canucks realized they were a part of something special and, sometimes there’s an exception to the rule that you should feel bad after you lose. Head coach Travis Green said, “… there’s still that human element in the game that when guys go through tough things or battle through things.” He added, “It was just good to see him back out there playing.”
Before Thursday’s game, Ryan said, “People have reservations about where I’m at in my career and contract and I understand that.” He added, “I’m not saying I’m going to come out of this and play to the $7 million guy that I want to be as much as everybody else does, but this is a chance for me to reset and prove that I still have some years left in this league and I can play and I can contribute.”
We won’t get ahead of ourselves and remotely suggest nights like this will be a regularity for Ryan but three goals on your first night back is certainly contributing.
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