Terry Ryan was named the WHL Rookie of the Year in 1993, and two years later, he was drafted eighth overall by the Montreal Canadiens.
Terry had led the league in fights (34) while also scoring more than 20 goals, and hockey fans were sure he was destined for greatness.
But his NHL career was limited to just eight games over three seasons. Ryan had great success in the minor pro hockey leagues, but not long after suffering a serious ankle injury, his career came to an end.
Terry Ryan played his last pro game 20 years ago, but on Sunday, he made a remarkable comeback in the ECHL, the same day he celebrated his 47th birthday.
Ryan appears in the Canadian comedy series ”Shoresy” and hosts the popular hockey podcast ”Tales with TR: A Hockey Podcast.” Recently, he was at a bar when he got a call from the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL.
”I was probably five or six pints in,” Ryan told The Washington Post.
And although he last played his last pro game in 2003, for the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, he didn’t feel he would embarrass himself.
“I still skate 4-5 times a week and I play a lot of ball hockey,” Ryan said. “I just figured if I had the cardio, at least a fraction of it, that I wouldn’t embarrass.”
And he certainly didn’t. Midway through the third period, Ryan traded punches with the Adirondack Thunder’s Zach Walker, and also drew an instigator penalty.
“I wasn’t planning on fighting … but I turn around and my teammate, my buddy’s got his helmet off,” Ryan said.
“What do I have to lose? I’m supposed to lose that fight like when I fought Tie Domi when I was 18.”
Overall, Ryan seemed pleased with how the evening fell out, and he even had time for jokes with his teammates.
“I was joking with the guys, ‘You get sent down for two weeks, but two decades is a little much,’” Ryan said.
It was also the first time his 13-year-old daughter watched him play.
“I didn’t want to embarrass them,” Ryan said. “Before the game she gave me an extra long hug.”