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Jon Ryan Article

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by CaliforniaCheez, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=285683

    Check the link!

    Jon Ryan can thank the Brandon Wheat Kings for being in the National Football League today.

    While that may sound strange, had a course of events that took place when he was 17 not happened, Ryan would not be a punter with the Green Bay Packers.

    "It was the third time I had tried out with the Wheat Kings," Ryan said. "I was a goalie and really thought I had a chance to make the team. Unfortunately, I was cut for the third time with them and that's when I decided that I had had enough. I was 17 at the time and in 12th grade. I gave up the thought of hockey as a career. That's when I turned my attention to football."

    Interestingly, during his years at Sheldon-Williams High School in Regina, Saskatchewan, Ryan had not only played hockey, but lacrosse, basketball, football and ran track. Fittingly, it was football that the Packers' punter excelled at. During his high school days Ryan was a running back, kicker and punter.

    Ryan is in his rookie season with the Packers and the NFL. He was signed by Green Bay on Feb. 1, 2006. This came after spending two years with the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Ryan was a third-round draft choice (24th overall) in the 2004 Canadian college draft out of the University of Regina.

    While in college, Ryan was an Interuniversity Sport first-team All-Canadian selection and a Canada West first-team all-star. In addition to being a punter, he was also a flanker.

    "I kept excelling in football after I got out of high school," Ryan said. "I did well in college and then made it in the CFL.

    "The NFL was always in the back of my mind. But it was not even a thought. It was a dream. Now that dream is a reality."

    While pro football is a reality for Ryan, hockey is still near and dear to him.

    "I've never stopped following hockey," Ryan said. "I think the first time I played organized hockey when I was about 7-years-old. "And I was always a goalie. It's a position I always seemed to enjoy. I like the pressure the goalie is always under. After all, you're that last line of defense for your team.

    "If a forward or defenseman makes a mistake in front of you, you're the guy who has to make the big save. And if you don't everybody in the building knows what you've done. It's the only position in the world where a red light comes on if you make a mistake."

    Were there any players that Ryan idolized growing up?

    "Martin Brodeur and Dominik Hasek," Ryan said. "They were my two favorite players that I enjoyed watching. They were two exciting goalies to watch. They always seemed to make the impossible save when it was needed. They were both champions too. They won Stanley Cups with the teams they played for. And if the game was on the line, both could come up with the big saves when they needed to.

    "As for myself as a goalie, I played either standup or butterfly. Whatever was comfortable for me was what I did."

    Growing up in Western Canada, one would have thought that Ryan's favorite team would have been either the Calgary Flames or the Edmonton Oilers. Maybe even the New Jersey Devils or Buffalo Sabres or Detroit Red Wings because of his favorite players.

    Surprisingly, it was none of the above.

    "I've always been a Toronto Maple Leafs fan," Ryan said. "Growing up, they were the team that always seemed to be on Hockey Night In Canada or TSN. I was always watching the Leafs. My favorite players from the Leafs were Felix Potvin and Wendel Clark. Potvin because he was a goalie and Clark because of his leadership abilities and he was so tough.

    "I'm still a Leafs fan today. Once a Leafs fan, always a Leafs fan."

    What does he think about the new style of play in the NHL?

    "I love it. I think it's great," Ryan said. "The goalies probably don't like it, but the fans do and that's what counts. They love those 6-5 games that are decided in overtime or by a shootout.

    "I don't get to see too many NHL games in-person in Green Bay or Wisconsin for that matter because they don't have an NHL team (although Lambeau Field hosted the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic earlier in the year with a game between the University of Wisconsin and Ohio State which the Badgers won, 4-2, in front of over 40,000 fans). But I still watch as much as I can on TV.

    "And I think (Sidney) Crosby and (Alexander) Ovechkin are the most exciting players to hit the NHL in a long time. They get the fans excited about hockey. And the way the two of them play hockey is exciting to watch."

    Despite his love for hockey, his main focus from late July until early January is football.

    "I love it here in Green Bay," said Ryan, who still resides in Regina during the off-season. "It reminds me a lot of home. The weather up here is cold and snowy. But I really enjoy winter weather. And playing for the Packers is like a dream come true. You learn about the history of the team very quickly with the names like Lombardi and Starr.

    "The fact that I'm playing in Lambeau Field where many of the games greats have played and some of the NFL's greatest moments were played is an honor. This team is legendary and I'm very proud to be a part of it."

    Even when he watches hockey today, Ryan has no regrets about the decisions he has made in his life.

    "No regrets at all," Ryan said. "I'm living a dream. I get paid to play football. I'm enjoying life and I still get to follow hockey. I get to see some games in-person during the off-season and I still follow as many games as I can on TV.

    "Although I'll admit that if there is a big game I'll try and watch it somehow. Last year during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I was here in Green Bay. There was a game I wanted to see on TV and it wasn't on the cable I have in my apartment. So I went down to Lambeau Field and into our training area and watched it from there.

    "I know the guards at the stadium looked at me kind of strange. But I wanted to see the game and what better place to watch it from than the most famous football stadium in the NFL?"

    *************************************************************
    Why NHL.com runs the story???
     
  2. yooperfan

    yooperfan Cheesehead

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    I'm surprised he was a goalie and loved the pressure of the position.
    I was thinking that his slump that he seems to be in might be attributed to him feeling some pressure.
    He doesn't seem to be the same punter he was at the start of the season,
    hopefully he will redeem himself in these next two crucial games.
     
  3. PackFanInSC

    PackFanInSC Cheesehead

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    First of all, Ryan has had a lot to deal with the past couple of weeks with his father passing. Give him a little time to deal with that.

    Secondly, even Robbie Gould, who was near perfect this year, has slipped a little the past 2 weeks. Maybe it is because of the longer season in the NFL than in college but more likely I would attribute it to it being December and they are on outdoor teams.
     
  4. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    This was at NHL.com? neat stuff!
     
  5. yooperfan

    yooperfan Cheesehead

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    Ryan was a punter in Canada, it doesn't get anymore outdoors than that. I wouldn't think he would be affected by cold weather.
    I do agree he has had alot on his plate with the loss of his father, that would more than likely affect most anyone no matter what their job is.

    I do think he will be an excellant punter for the Packers for years to come if given the chance.
     
  6. eastcoastpacker

    eastcoastpacker Cheesehead

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    That is a different story. I just hope everything works out for him.
     
  7. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    The National Hockey League website discussing the Packers' Punter. I thought it was pretty good.
     

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