There is a country full of Canadian men who wish they had been good enough at hockey to have a shot at the NHL...even a shot. Most of us grunts would even say a life of riding buses in the AHL playing hockey and still making okay money would be something else, in fact my best hockey memory is a sweeping glove save I made on an ex-NHL player, a save that made me have dreams about what could have been for me if I was more committed, more determined or even more mature in my youth. The reality is I'd be where I am today, I simply never had that level of talent, but Dan Ryder did have that talent.
Dan Ryder, the younger brother of Michael Ryder the Bruin, has been charged with armed robbery in Bonavista Newfoundland after turning himself in. According to the TSN article he demanded money while claiming to be armed. This story is really sad.
The reason is that Ryder was a good player, a solid prospect, winning awards in the OHL and being an all star MVP in the playoffs. Twice getting 82 points with the Petes, winning the Wayne Gretzky 99 award in 2006 for playoff MVP...in short...he was good!! Good enough to be a third round pick for the Calgary Flames.
The story starts going downhill here though, different accounts from Ryder's team mates and acquaintances stated they weren't sure he had the heart or love for hockey that it takes to make it. After taking too much time to decide if he wanted to play for the Quad city affiliate the team suspended him and he later returned the following year for camp with the Flames. He made the Quad city team but after a poor start was relegated to Las Vegas where he played for a short time and quit. That was a hefty decision. Who know what that decision did To Ryder but a guy who had the talent and had a shot decided that making it as a hockey player wasn't for him. That is a hard decision to make, but now that he has sunk to the depths of robbing a convenience store you have to be wondering why? The golden ring was within his grasp, wouldn't riding the busses, living in Vegas and playing hockey for money been better?
I don't Know Daniel Ryder, I can not speculate why he made the decisions he did but being that close to your dreams and waking up with the opposite reality today...it must be a bitter pill to swallow.
I couldnt figure this guy out at all when he was in our system. It's really sad that he has sunk down to this level. It shows that you have to have a drive and will beyond the skill to make it. Imagine if he had really put heart into his natural talent? He could have been one hell of a hockey player.
It's a sad story and hopefully he'll be able to get the help he needs.
These stories may be more common than we know if you consider all of the sports. Look at the high rate of drafted players that don't make it in the NHL. What has happened to them in the years since? Remember players like Sheldon Kennedy who was exploited by Graham James and never reached his full potential.