Bobby Ryan finally returned to the ice this week, scoring a hat trick for the Ottawa Senators against the Vancouver Canucks.
Ryan’s return to the Senators organisation has been followed closely by fans and members of the media alike, with the American forward opening up about his battles with alcoholism, which ultimately led to him entering the NHL’s Player Assistance Programme back in November.
Prior to stepping away from the game to work on his inner demons and mental health, Ryan did not appear to be himself out on the ice, with just one goal and four total points in 16 appearances for D.J. Smith‘s team.
Thursday’s game meant far more to Ryan and the Ottawa Senators team than simple stats or a check mark in the win column, it was an emotional night that allowed the fanbase a chance to show the veteran how much they care about him, with posters of all shapes and sizes filling the arena.
When goal three went in for Ryan, he went to the bench and was overcome by emotions, clearly feeling everything he has worked through over the past few months hit him all at once, feeling a clear sense of relief to be back doing what he loves.
To score a hat trick in front of your home fans is an experience like no over and was truly the perfect return that could ever have been imagined.
The Ottawa Senators clearly care about Bobby Ryan, who has been through so much in his life already, and to see him enjoying his hockey again can only do wonders for his confidence and his well being.
Having Ryan back in the line-up is a positive for Smith, who is fairly short of true veterans to help guide the team towards the off-season, so having a guy that has 449 regular-season games with 106 goals (265 total points) for the organisation back can only be seen as a positive.
What do you think Sens fans? How did you feel watching Bobby Ryan make his home return in such a fashion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!