For a while, Ryan O’Byrne was one of the select few locked-out NHLers to try his hand at coaching.
Now it appears that time has come to a close.
O’Byrne has inked a deal with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, citing his need to get back into game action.
“At some point, you have to play some hockey,” O’Byrne told the Victoria Times-Colonist. “You can work-out as much as you want but nothing is like being in an actual game environment … and I haven’t played since April 7.”
O’Byrne had spent most of the lockout behind the bench for the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies, a tier-two Canadian junior club. A BCHL graduate himself — he played for Victoria and Nanaimo before moving to Cornell University — O’Byrne felt the need to give back to the club that helped mold his professional career.
He also felt required to stay in North America, given he serves as Colorado’s NHLPA representative.
“My role in the NHLPA is very important to me,” he said. “I couldn’t fulfill those duties in Europe.”
So, farewell to coach O’Byrne.
As for locked-out NHLers still holding coaching positions?
– Florida’s Kris Versteeg is behind the bench for the University of Lethbridge. (link)
–- Columbus’ RJ Umberger is doing volunteer work at his alma mater, Ohio State. (link)
–- Toronto’s John-Michael Liles is behind the bench at Culver Academy in Indiana. (link)
– Columbus’ Mark Letestu is serving as an assistant coach with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Bonnyville Pontiacs. (link)
— Dallas’ Eric Nystrom will team up with NHL Network’s Billy Jaffe to coach Team USA at the 2013 Maccabiah Games. (link)