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Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote – Terry Ryan


Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote Book Cover Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote

ECW Press

Terry Ryan was poised to take the hockey world by storm when he was selected eighth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1995 NHL draft, their highest draft pick in a decade. Expected to go on to become a hockey star, Ryan played a total of eight NHL games for the Canadiens, scoring no goals and no assists: not exactly the career he, or anyone else, was expecting.

Though Terry’s NHL career wasn’t long, he experienced a lot and has no shortage of hilarious and fascinating revelations about life in pro hockey on and off the ice. In Tales of a First-Round Nothing, he recounts the time he was dared to drink 24 beers in eight hours, partying with rock stars, and everything in between. Ryan tells it like it is, detailing his rocky relationship with Michel Therrien, head coach of the Canadiens, and explaining what life is like for a man who was unprepared to have his career over so soon.

Sometimes People Deserve Everything They Get. And I Say That in the Best Way Possible.

Terry Ryan, author of Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote, was once a highly touted prospect for the Montreal Canadiens. I had requested this book via Netgalley, seeking out the Sports genre because it is something I love (Sports) but rarely read on paper (or in this case, eBook). I’ve never heard of Terry Ryan and I’m glad I had the chance to read about his life.

… if I had been an NHL star I probably couldn’t get away with some of what lies between these covers

And Terry Ryan is right. His book includes all the stories he had from when was 14 moving from East to West (Newfoundland to BC – that is a long trek) and to now where he is 30 and playing in the senior hockey league. In between all these years, he played the role of the joker and cheerleader, rarely having a moment where he is not pranking someone or trying to find ways to gather the troops and rally them into a victory. (Probably someone that I would love to have watching my back but also party with… though probably not often because loud people drains me.)

I find the book a little too gloaty, but I guess that’s the point of an autobiography. When you read the book, you won’t believe some of the stories written nor the people he meets along the way. But as you continue, you realize that these stories are true and you can see how many people Terry have met, touched, and could call friends along his hockey journey. As his NHL career stalled, people from every corner of the world would find ways to help him finding the odd jobs in playing. Not to mention how he always end up with encounters of famous people, getting invited him up to the box seat for a concert by a legend, or strangers letting him crash there for a night or two.

People without a big heart would rarely find these opportunities (or letting the opportunity come to them) — Terry would end up knowing Sam Roberts (of the famed Sam Roberts Band), fighting against Tie Domi, and befriending more than a handful of NHLers who he would still hang out from time to time.

I did find that the book was quite long (I don’t think it helped when the Kindle app on my tablet had a percentage counter along with how long (hours and minutes) left in the book. While it was fun reading Terry’s experience, I got bored by some of it since it seemed to be dragging at times. It also didn’t help that the stories were out of order in most parts and for the life of me I couldn’t recall where in the timeline the story I was reading currently was located.

It is too bad that he never had an integral role in the NHL but it seems like he made up for it by continuing to pursue his passion — playing hockey no matter how big (Montreal) or small (Mount Pearl) the stage is.

Thanks for a good read, Terry.

Some of my Favourite Quotes and Sidenotes

  •  “It’s just that Mike Therrien made [fighting] feel like part of the job. Things he said in the room made the ice feel like a battlefield. I could see what he was doing, but I hate that approach to the game…” (On his coach when he played for the Fredericton Canadiens)
  • “I wept uncontrollably in the bathroom stall before we hit the ice, hoping nobody would see me, and had the butterflies so bad I puke.” (On playing at the Montreal Forum for the first time)
  • Am I allow to be nit-picky and say that he forgot to add the number of exhibition games to the other sports when he compared the schedule of hockey versus other North American sports? :)
  • “A massive portion of dedicated NHL fans will never get to see a single game due to nothing other than money.”

Author: Ivy

Ivy develops in Ruby on Rails. You can find her at @aibiwashere.

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