Story by Hannah Lawrie – ISN
“To play in the NHL you’ve got to be a good person.” – Ryan O’Byrne
Victoria, BC (ISN) – From August 6th to 10th Colorado Avalanche player and Victoria native Ryan O’Byrne will host the first Ryan O’Byrne Charity Hockey Camp. Players ages nine through twelve will attend with all proceeds donated to the KidSport organization.
This high performance camp will be held at the Ian Stewart Arena with a number of Ryan’s fellow NHL players participating as instructors.
O’Byrne primarily hopes for an enjoyable camp and great learning experience for the young players. “It is import to provide the students with, first class experience,” says O’Byrne.
This first class experience includes having great volunteers to teach skills and team development and O’Byrne has lined up a number of visiting NHL players, including Clayton Stoner (Minnisota Wild), Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars), Manny Malhotra (Vancouver Canucks) and Matt Pettinger (Colonge Sharks).
Also teaching at the camp will be Head Coach Max Young and Assistant Coach Jeff Compton. O’Byrne is confident this coaching team will give the players a unique hockey training experience on Vancouver Island.
The camp will also include the presentation of the Loreli O’Byrne Award which will be granted to a young female athlete who shows dedication and effort to the sport. This award is in honor of Ryan’s mother who passed away from cancer in 2010.
When asked what inspired him to start the hockey camp, Ryan stated, “It has been an idea in the back of my mind ever since I started playing in the NHL. I remember many volunteers who helped me achieve my goals throughout my career and with sports and teamwork being such a prevalent part of my life, giving back just feels natural.”
An important aspect of this camp is that it is run by pro-athletes from the West Coast for young amateur athletes from the West Coast. This is why O’Byrne also invited Tyson Barrie to be present at the camp. Barrie is also a Victoria native and O’Byrne and Barrie are training together throughout the summer.
O’Byrne understands the feeling of being new to a team and through the past year tried to help Barrie out and welcome him to the Avalanche. “Tyson is going to play in the NHL for a long time”, said O’Byrne.
Besides preparing to meet his goals for next season, which include making the playoffs and scoring more points, O’Byrne stays busy playing a few other sports during the summer. “Kids get too focused on one sport at one time” noted O’Byrne. “Developing overall athletics is important and playing different sports throughout the year helps makes you a better athlete.”
In that regard, Ryan plays games of golf, tennis and basketball with his close friends in Victoria to improve overall athleticism and agility.
Even though he’s a fan of many sports, Ryan would collect a special piece of hockey memorabilia if given the chance. He would choose a Wayne Gretzky silver Easton Stick, signed of course. Gretzky was whom Ryan admired while growing up.
O’Byrne holds fond memories of Victoria, including spending time with his friends at Windsor Park and enjoying tasty Italian meals at Il Terrazzo. This love of Vancouver Island is his motivation to cultivate and train local athletes.
Local pro-athletes coaching local amateur athletes is a true demonstration of what community spirit is all about and O’Byrne and his NHL colleagues will no doubt provide a great experience for all who attend the camp.
Best of luck to all young hockey players who participate!