2024 Adirondack Thunder vs Newfoundland Growlers

'Shoresy' Star Terry Ryan Makes Surprise ECHL Comeback At 47 With Growlers

'Shoresy' Star Terry Ryan Makes Surprise ECHL Comeback At 47 With Growlers

Terry Ryan, a former Montreal Canadiens draft pick and current star of Hulu's 'Shoresy,' came out of retirement to play for the Newfoundland Growlers.

Jan 15, 2024 by Chris Peters
Shoresy Star Terry Ryan's ECHL Return At 47

By his own admission, Terry Ryan was a few pints into an early birthday celebration Saturday night when the phone rang with a rather insane way to spend his actual 47th birthday Sunday. The ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers were on the line and they had a very serious question that Ryan could not actually take seriously right away.

The Growlers’ brass wondered if the former eighth overall pick of the Montreal Canadiens – in 1995 – would be willing to come out of retirement for Sunday afternoon’s regular-season game against the Adirondack Thunder. Newfoundland had been dealing with injuries, call-ups and more, and were shorthanded. When you’re in St. John’s, Newfoundland, it’s not exactly easy to get someone into town and ready to play in less than 24 hours. Ryan thought it was a birthday prank and hung up.

It was not. The phone rang again and this time, Ryan finally believed the previously unbelievable.

So on Sunday afternoon, Terry Ryan the hockey player, turned actor who plays a hockey player on a popular Hulu show, became a pro hockey player once again. 

Ryan, who grew up in Newfoundland, has spent the last two seasons on the Hulu series “Shoresy” where he plays Ted Hitchcock, a quirky Newfoundlander and elder skatesman of the Sudbury Blueberry Bulldogs – a team in the fictional NOSHO senior hockey league in northern Ontario. He had not played in the ECHL in more than 20 years, but had remained active in Canadian senior leagues and also has been part of Canada’s national ball hockey team.

Sunday, however, was a real pro hockey game in a league with players that weren't even born yet when Ryan had hung up the skates as a professional, with actual standings points on the line in a divisional rivalry.

Any hockey player who got the call Ryan got, no matter how old they are or where they are, they're going, right? Oh, TR was going alright.

Wearing No. 14 for the Newfoundland Growlers, Terry Ryan became the oldest player to appear in an ECHL game Sunday. Not only that, he was in the starting lineup.

Ryan threw his weight around on his first shift, more than held his own and when he saw one of his teammates get rocked with a big body check in the third period, ol’ TR was ready to drop the gloves. So he did.

In his first pro game since 2003, Terry Ryan finished with zero points and seven minutes in penalties including a fighting major and an extra minor for instigating the fight. He also was even on the plus/minus in Newfoundland’s 6-2 loss to Adirondack.

The result of the game hardly mattered. The day belonged to Terry Ryan and he got to live out the fantasy of so many ex-players. He got to play in front of his hometown, with more than 4,000 people on hand. His Newfoundland teammates pushed him out for a curtain call and the crowd gave Ryan a huge standing ovation.

In a perfect moment, Ryan literally bowed to the crowd before heading off the ice one last time.

After the game, Growlers broadcaster Chris Ballard caught up with Ryan who became emotional recounting the experience. Among the best moments for him personally, having a chance to play in front of his 13-year-old daughter who never saw him play pro hockey before and getting the hometown fans fired up again.

Ryan said he was possibly more nervous for this game than he was for his NHL debut during the 1996-97 season and who wouldn't be?

Ryan said he wouldn’t have played if he thought this was only a stunt. It was on way too short of notice to be a stunt. Newfoundland really needed bodies and the fact that they had one of the area's favorite native sons nearby helped. Would it sell a few more tickets? Absolutely. And it also brought a lot of eyeballs as curious onlookers familiar with Ryan from the Hulu show or his numerous appearances on the popular podcast Spittin' Chiclets, tuned in en masse to FloHockey's free stream across social media platforms.

Terry Ryan has been a true hockey lifer and clearly has endeared himself to fans young and old. Anyone that watched what transpired Sunday won't soon forget TR's Last Ride (for now). 

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