From the first-round draft pick for the Montreal Canadians to the Newfoundland Senior Hockey league, self-acclaimed professional hockey “flop” Terry Ryan is hanging up his skates.
Back in the day, Terry Ryan was kind of a big deal…or at least he was supposed to be. In 1995, he was the first choice for the Montreal Canadians. In the two decades since the big draft, he’s had a tremendous impact on the local sports and arts scenes. And off the ice there’s a lot more to come from this former professional hockey player, turned actor, best selling author and stand-up comedian.
Playing professional hockey is tough. Sure it comes with a nice paycheque but often at a cost. Ryan has injuries that will never heal and his body is wearing down. It’s an emotional realization and he finds it hard to admit he’s giving up the game.
“I love the sport, I’ll miss the boys, and even answering this question is making me teary-eyed. But Peter Pan has to grow up at some point,” Ryan says. “My body has been telling me to slow down for the past 4 or 5 years.”
The physical wear and tear is just one reason he’s moving on. Ryan finished his career in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League playing for the Gander Flyers … a team that surely pays less than the Montreal Canadians.
“I have to try and follow the best opportunities to provide for my kids,” Ryan says. And, as luck would have it, there seems to be an abundance of opportunity right now for the ex-NHLer.
His first book Tales of a First-Round Nothing was a bestseller and he’s working on another one. Ryan’s been dabbling in some acting and most recently, stand up comedy.
“I got lucky and landed a few acting gigs back on the Rock and am gonna do a little bit of that in Toronto now that I’m in the union (ACTRA), but my main goal is writing. I am working on writing for a film with a handful of others and I am also touring parts of Canada with Gerry Dee, as a stand-up comedian,” Ryan says.
“I am just starting, and I am aware I got lucky. Gerry reached out to me and I’m giving it a go – It would normally take years to play for crowds like I’ve seen on this tour. I am grateful for the opportunity!”
Who would have thought professional hockey would lead him here? Ryan says when it comes to sports and the arts; there are a lot of similarities. “On a film set for example, each cog in the wheel has to be in sync with the others or else the production suffers. Same as a sports team.”
He says he was just as nervous on the ice as he is now on stage or in front of the camera. Ryan says he felt the same opening for Gerry Dee in front of 5000 people or doing a scene with Jason Momoa on FRONTIER, as he felt in his first NHL game with the Montreal Canadians.
“I guess you have to learn to thrive on it and almost crave it – and it can become addictive. And once you get to that place inside where you’re comfortable with it, the sky is the limit if you try your hardest. You need the odd break too and Gerry gave me one. Next year this may be a different interview, but for now, I’m gonna give it my best shot (pun intended)!”