Veteran forward Bobby Ryan has been a constant source of frustration for fans of the Ottawa Senators. Ryan has always had obvious talents but for whatever reason ever since joining the ranks of the Senators organization he was never able to put things together the way he did earlier on in his career during his time as a member of the Anaheim Ducks organization.
As the seasons have rolled by fans only became more and more frustrated with Ryan who was often prone to large stretches of uninspired play and who, on top of the seeming lack of commitment at times, also appeared to be prone to injury season after season. Ryan would routinely miss significant stretches of the season due to those injuries but none of that compared to the massive absence he underwent during this current season, the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season, a season in which he has thus far only appeared in 16 games for the Senators.
This time however Ryan was not held out of the lineup for injury reasons but rather due to the fact that he was entered into the NHL’s Players’ Assistance program back in late November of 2019. It was unclear why Ryan had entered the program but on Friday the Ottawa Senators forward spoke to the media and for the first time he was open and honest about what it was he was going through. Although Ryan would have prefered to deal with things privately he admitted that he was recovering from alcoholism and revealed that he had been dealing with the problem for years, something that may explain why he struggled so much during his years as a Senator.
“It’s something I’ve been battling for a while. I’ve tried on my own and I was already getting help for it,” Ryan said as per the Ottawa Sun. “What I was doing wasn’t enough, I was trying white knuckle things and do things the wrong way and I’d have 20 days of nothing and one really bad one and you just can’t get better without it.”
Ryan said that he had tried to fix the problem on his own, in part due to the stigma surrounding asking for help for substance abuse problems, but admitted that things had not been working for him.
“I didn’t want to continue to do that. I had a lot of times when I woke up in the morning just over-ridden with guilt and shame and saying I would do something. I’d do it for 12 days then I’d be messing up again. It wasn’t going to lead … it had no good end.”
Although Ryan would have prefered to keep this particular issue out of the spotlight, he also added that he finds some comfort in the fact that things becoming so public have now allowed him to serve as an example for others who may still be suffering in silence with problems similar to the one he faced.
“In that sense, there’s a silver lining,” he said. “I’d like to be a role model for other reasons, but everything led me to here. I wish it hadn’t taken so long in the last three years to get to where I am, but I would urge anybody … I read so many articles about other players in certain capacities because I had a lot of time on my hands that I drew parallels with a lot of guys.
“So, if there’s anybody who hears it, and can recognize something and find a way to ask for help, then I urge them do it.”