NHL player Bobby Ryan has made a comeback — on the ice, and in life.
The 32-year-old Ottawa Senators player was greeted by cheers on Thursday during his first home game in three months since completing treatment for alcohol abuse, according to Sports Illustrated. Ryan was admitted into the joint NHL/NHLPA assistance program on Nov. 20 after confirming the problem.
Ryan had an impressive showing during his first home game back, and scored three goals to help the team win 5-2 against the Vancouver Canucks.
After the match, Ryan said it was the support of his wife, Danielle, that helped him during the challenging time.
“To have her support and not just have her support as a hockey player, but as a husband and everything,” he said, “it just means a ton.”
Ryan admitted he was struck with emotion while hearing chants of his name and applause from fans during the game. After scoring his third goal, Ryan was seen in tears.
“I knew Ottawa being the community that it is that the reception would be good,” Ryan said, according to the outlet.
You can't write this stuff. pic.twitter.com/kEpw9VUsCJ— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 28, 2020
“It just got harder to keep the emotions down throughout the game,” he added. “It was incredible. They supported me and I got to contribute. You can’t write that, the way that went. It was just an incredible evening, so thank you to all of them.”
Ryan previously opened up about his struggles with alcohol to the Canadian Press, Yahoo Sports noted.
“I was trying the white-knuckle thing and do things the wrong way,” he told the outlet last month. “I’d have 20 days of nothing and one real, bad one and you just can’t get better without [help]. There’s such a stigma around asking for help and I was trying to do it. I’ve done that for a long time.”
Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Bobby Ryan
“I guess you could call it a panic attack, but it was more a realization that the route that I was going had no good end in sight and that’s not just professionally, that’s personally,” he added. “I didn’t want to continue to do that. I had a lot of times where I woke up in the mornings overridden with guilt, shame and saying I would do it and do it for 12 days and then messing up again. It had no good end.”