Minor Hockey Moments - Michael Ryder


Where Michael Ryder grew up they only had one hockey team.<br>


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Michael Ryder is in his first year with the Boston Bruins after signing a three-year contract worth US$12 million on July 1, 2008. The 28-year old Newfoundlander scored 30 goals in back-to-back seasons for the Montreal Canadiens after the lockout, but only scored 14 in 70 games last season. Ryder scored the game winning goal in the fourth overtime period in game two of the Calder Cup finals eventually won by the Hamilton Bulldogs. This season is the sixth he’s played under coach, Claude Julien, three in the QMJHL, one in the AHL and two with the Montreals Canadiens.  

Michael Ryder didn’t really play house league hockey. “Where I grew up we only had one team,” said Ryder who grew up in Bonavista, Newfoundland a city of under 4000 people. “We never really played in any tournaments and hour and a half was the closest we traveled to play another team.” Ryder remembers playing only about 15 games every season. Compared to the 40-plus game schedules for kids in Toronto it’s amazing Ryder even made it to the big leagues. My skating took a while to come around since I was only on the ice once a week,” acknowledges Ryder. “I’m not sure if I’m where I should be yet.”

As the first and currently only person from Bonavista to make it to the NHL it’s no surprise that Ryder’s dad was also his coach. “He wouldn’t give me too much advice though,” said Ryder. “He wasn’t really a yeller, he was more laid back, he wouldn’t get on anybody’s case.” Though he has brother who is also a professional player, Ryder is the eldest and never had to wear hand-me-down equipment. “I never had the best gear,” recalls Ryder. “But I got by.” There was one piece of equipment that stood out for the Newfoundland native. “My favourite stick growing up was the Easton aluminum, you know, the Gretzky one,” he said  with a big grin on his face. “My dad bought me one because the junior shafts used to warp on me after a few games.”
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