Bobby Ryan has had a difficult year. Back in November, he took a leave of absence from the Ottawa Senators as he sought treatment for alcoholism. Now, 100 days sober, he has made his return to Ottawa in his second game back as an active player.
And then he scored a damn hat trick. The Canadian Tire Centre crowd erupted into chants of “Bobby!” as Ryan held back tears from the bench.
The first goal was a kick to his stick, the second a chip in front, and the third an empty-netter. Goal-scorer’s goals — all three.
It was his first hat trick since 2014.
After Ryan returned to the bench, fans — many of whom sporting “welcome back, Bobby” posters — cheered him on. His teammates and coaches joined in. Chants of Bobby rang through the arena.
Bobby Ryan fighting back tears on the bench after recording a hat trick in his return to Ottawa and receiving a massive ovation from the fans pic.twitter.com/lpVpDSh7J1
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) February 28, 2020
Ryan has been candid about his struggles with alcohol and mental health since he entered the assistance program last year. “I’ve dreaded this day for a better part of three months,” Ryan said upon facing the media for the first time, “but if you’re going to stand here and take time to heal yourself, you’re going to have to face the music.”
I’m sure he’s right about the “facing the music” part, but there was also an awful lot of love and gratitude and admiration waiting for him as well.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a hotline — 1-800-662-HELP (4357) — and an online behavioral health treatment services locator.
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