A week after announcing on Twitter that his mother passed away, Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan penned an emotional letter in the Players’ Tribune, thanking her for having such a profound influence on his life.
A story from Sportsnet in September of 2013 detailed how Ryan’s childhood completely changed after his father committed a horrendous act of domestic violence that would eventually land him in prison, but not before the family was uprooted from New Jersey to California, and their names changed.
Ryan’s father, Robert Stevenson, was charged with attempted murder for an attack on his wife and Ryan’s mother when Ryan was just 10 years old, according to the Ottawa Sun. Stevenson fled to California and the family eventually followed, before Stevenson was arrested again and incarcerated.
In the Players’ Tribune, Ryan revealed the sacrifices his mother made as the sole provider for the family after the imprisonment of his father, working 16 hours a day “so that I could realize my dreams of becoming a professional hockey player.”
As I reflect on our time together, there’s something I really need to tell you — and for the world to hear me say it: Thank you, Mom. Thank you so much.
Thank you for putting your life on the back-burner for several years just so that I could be happy. I know you didn’t have anyone to lean on, but you understood how much I needed you, and so you gave me all of yourself.
Thank you for showing me what it means to be a professional, for showing me that no matter what obstacle you may be facing, the best approach is always to just put your head down and go to work.
Thank you for helping me get through the eighth and ninth grades when neither of us really knew what we were doing with the whole homeschool thing. I still can’t believe we pulled a 3.0 GPA.
Thank you for playing so many roles in my life. You were my only parent for so long, but when it was time you were still able to let me go so that I could learn about the world on my own. I know how difficult that was for you. One of the biggest reasons I am where I am today is because you put me in a position to succeed. And not only succeed, but succeed on my own.