Ryan's Rant - My First Game Day

Article Thumbnail

By Terry Ryan




This rant is also an excerpt form the book I wrote, called "Tales of a first Round Nothing". The book is currently unpublished, so if you like it spread the word!

Tales Of A First Round Nothing By Terry Ryan



My First Game Day

It was game day and it was time to eat pre game meal. As hockey players, a game day usually consists of a skate in the morning, pre game meal at around noon, a nap and off to the rink by 5 for a 7 o’clock game. I guess looking back this was my first of what would end up being thousands and I remember it vividly.

Things were a little sketchy from the get-go. I remember trying to be funny a lot, to gain acceptance from the older more experienced guys. I was getting to know them though and it was hard for me to decipher between the leaders, the selfish, the so-called nerds and so forth. To me they were all to be looked up to because of nothing more than age.

I remember my hands sweating which hardly ever happens and I wanted to be accepted, plain and simple. I knew after the game I WOULD be because I wanted to do whatever it took to get those butterflies and awkwardness out. I wanted to be able to relax and until I hung out a little and actually played…it wouldn’t happen. When the waiter came to take our orders, he announced the specials, and then at the end of his spiel, says “Oh yeah and we have any breakfast, any time.” Trying a little wittiness I come back with, “In that case, I am gonna go with an Egg McMuffin and some IHOP pancakes during the Renaissance”!! Everyone froze and the waiter challenged me to a fight! Had I not been with my teammates I was in for a beat down for sure! Funny thing is when I got to the rink and retold the story they all laughed and thought it was a great comeback, but confessed to not understanding me because of my Newfie accent, which made sense. I had a thick one back then! That was another obstacle I sometimes forget about while reminiscing. Even though we all spoke English there was still a little bit of a language barrier.

Anyway it was game time that night versus the Williams Lake Mustangs and before the game the guys made me feel as comfortable as possible for a youngster and I was set to go. Ron Coleman, our coach at the time, put me in the starting line-up! The building is full…my first game…everyone staring at the flag during the singing of Oh! Canada….starting line ups announced…..the referee waves at both goalies ….it’s time for puck drop!! Breathing in and finally managing a smile and sigh of relief that the waiting was finally over, I got set for the opening face-off. 

Well, I should have expected the unexpected because apparently a Williams Lake player who shall remain nameless was ready to teach me a lesson. He cross-checked me in the face without hesitation and dropped his gloves before I could say “Nintendo” and I went down. When I got up everyone was goin’ at it. The defensemen were skating at the Williams Lake bench. My linemates, Chris Spencer and Dave Standing - two great dudes who would later deal with anyone who dared look at me the wrong way - were goin’ toe to toe old school style and as I looked up from my “turtle” position I saw the goalies actually pass Spence and Davey and now THEY were going at it. Coaches were yelling and even some FANS were into it. It happened fast, but seemed slow and I honestly remember deciding to just roll with it, and went at my dancing partner with reckless abandon and pent up rage, and…..I got my head punched in. Although I don’t remember feeling the blows (they rarely hurt at the time with so much adrenaline flowing) I remember the linesmen coming to my rescue and I couldn’t really see much of the melee going on around me with blood flowing down my head in front of my eyes and the linesmen escorting me to our dressing room. I was whisked behind the door along with the starting line-up, one by one, and as it closed behind us I started to process all of the preceding events and I will NEVER forget my reaction. Spence walked over and hugged me and I would be lying if I told you I remember what he said, but the message was that they were gonna be there for me for the next 2 years and NOBODY would mess with me in or away from the rink. My dad came in and Dave opened a beer and passed it to me (we were ejected) and that was the first sip of beer I had in front of a parent! (I stopped there though. I know it sounds awful but it was symbolic. It wasn’t to get me drunk, it was to welcome me to junior hockey). I started to laugh and cry! I mean I was actually crying and laughing at the same time, tears of joy, as all that built up tension was released and now I REALLY felt like a Quesnel Millionaire. I felt as if I had something in common finally with so many Canadian icons I had looked up to since I first tuned into Hockey Night In Canada. Even as I read this my eyes gloss over, as I now know a lot more about the world and appreciate what they did for me. I have had a lot of good fortune in my life and things couldn’t possibly have gone so smooth had they been jealous or egotistical. We all still keep in touch.

So there it is, a fight before a body check and a beer before a goal. And friends for life. Thanks boys!


Check Back Every Week For 'Ryan's Rant' By Terry Ryan

Also watch for Terry Ryan's book, 'Tales Of A First Round Nothing'



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Odds

Pick Archive




View all pro picks

Subscribe Here To Receive News, Updates
and Picks Sent Directly To Your Inbox
I agree to the .

Connect with BetOnHockey.com