In an ideal world, Ryan O’Byrne and the Colorado Avalanche would be in Los Angeles for a preseason game on September 29th, instead he will be taking on a new challenge. O’Byrne, who had been a member of the NHLPA’s team in the lockout, has decided to become an assistant for his old club in the BCHL, with his first game coming on the 29th of September.
“From my own experience in the BCHL, I know what a pivotal time it can be in a player’s development,” said O’Byrne. “I am excited to be involved and do what I can to help the next generation of Grizzlies as they pursue their hockey goals.”
The Victoria Grizzles was O’Byrne’s club from 2001-2003 before he went on to attend Cornell University. He has played for in the NHL since he broke in with the Montreal Canadiens in 2007. He has spent the last two years in Denver. He is a shutdown defender for the Avs, with over 100 blocked shots in the last three years.
His quiet unassuming nature, the profile he has developed in Denver, may not seem like a natural transition to coach. However, he has been a part of the Grizzlies’ advisory board, and he has already played under his boss, head coach and general manager Bill Bestwick.
“Our players will benefit greatly by having Ryan on the ice and on the bench, as an NHL defenseman, currently in the prime of his career, he will be a great role-model and teacher,” Bestwick said.
O’Byrne will not take payment from the club, but will accept a donation to the Ryan O’Byrne Youth Sports Society, which raised over $25,000 for kids who could not afford sporting equipment and equipment fees in Victoria.