Injuries forced defenseman Mike Van Ryn to retire from the NHL, but it didn’t take him long to find a place in the hockey workforce. Sunaya Sapurji of Yahoo Sports reports that Van Ryn will be an assistant coach with the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs (now that’s a solid name) next season.
Here are some comments regarding Van Ryn from IceDogs’ GM Marty Williamson.
“I look at my situation here, my two first-rounders are two blueliners and we have (defenceman) Dougie Hamilton here who has the potential to be a first-rounder in the NHL draft next year, so I wanted to hire a guy with some expertise in that area,” said Williamson on Monday morning. “I met with a lot of good guys and some real quality (applicants), but you just go with your gut and think what the best fit is for you.”
Williamson said he spoke with Leafs head coach Ron Wilson and general manager Brian Burke to see if they thought Van Ryn would be able to make a smooth transition to coaching.
“They had glowing reports and they believed that this is a guy that is going to be a good coach,” said Williamson. “He’s a student of the game and the type of guy that has had to come back from injuries and re-invent himself a little bit and relearn systems. When you’re out for any length of a time with an injury you have to study the game and (Burke and Wilson) said that this is a guy that understands the game.”
I’m guessing someone can make at least a halfway decent living as an OHL assistant coach?
Regardless, it’s great to hear that Van Ryn will be given an opportunity to stay involved in the sport after injuries robbed him of the ability to play at the NHL level. Who knows if he’ll end up flourishing in that role, but let’s wish him luck.
(H/T to James Mirtle.)