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Bobby Ryan opens up about alcohol addiction and the road to recovery – TSN

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Bobby Ryan knew this day was coming.

The veteran forward was well aware he would be peppered with questions about his extended absence from the Ottawa Senators for the past three months. On Friday morning, he decided to open up about the reasons for his departure from the team.

“I’ve dreaded this day for the better part of three months. But if you’re going to stand here and take time to heal yourself, you’re going to have to face the music,” Ryan said to a group of reporters gathered at his locker stall inside Canadian Tire Centre. “I spent two weeks agonizing over the fact it was going to be a media thing for me.”

Until now, the only explanation for Ryan’s leave was a purposely vague joint press release from the NHL and NHLPA on Nov. 20, stating he would be away from the team while participating in the league’s player assistance program.

On Friday, Ryan bravely shared that he has been undergoing extensive treatment for alcohol abuse.

Things came to a head during a Senators practice on Nov. 18, when Ryan abruptly left the team. In an emotional conversation with reporters on Friday, Ryan said he had reached a breaking point in his battle with alcohol that day in Detroit.

“I guess you can call it a panic attack, but it was more of a realization that the route that I was going had no good end in sight,” Ryan admitted. “And that’s not just professionally — that’s personally.”

The 32-year-old said he was caught in a vicious cycle, where he was trying to handle the situation on his own — but without any long-term success.

“It’s something I’ve been battling for a while,” he said. “I’ve tried on my own and I was already getting help for it. What I was doing wasn’t enough. I was trying to white-knuckle things and trying to do things the wrong way.”

Ryan said he was able to stay sober for small stretches, but would ultimately relapse into his old, familiar habits.

“It would be 20 days of nothing and then one real bad day,” he explained.

Ryan headed to an in-patient clinic to seek a permanent solution for his problems. He said it was something he contemplated doing last summer, but only mustered up the courage to do in November. 

“The issue for me was stopping. I just had never had a period in my life where people were around me to help me really stop,” Ryan said. “It took me going somewhere to figure that out. And getting a dry period to start out was very beneficial to me.”

Ryan called the support of his fellow NHLers “overwhelming,” saying a number of players who have battled a substance abuse issue reached out to him directly. He said that while some of the players have publicly shared their journeys, he was surprised at the number of fellow NHLers who contacted him that went through the program anonymously.

“Some guys reached out and I had no clue they did it,” Ryan said. 

At the height of his issues, Ryan said he was constantly battling insomnia. When he would wake up from choppy sleeps, he would often be overridden with feelings of guilt and shame. It was certainly not the recipe for success for an average hockey player, let alone a star commanding a $7 million annual salary.

But Ryan, as many fans know, is not your average NHL player. His atypical path to stardom has been widely documented over the years – starting with a dysfunctional childhood that saw his father change their family name and moving across the country to evade law enforcement. Ryan’s father was accused of domestic assault against his wife and, in order to avoid jail time, he moved the family to California in an attempt to build a new life.

Two decades later, Ryan admits that he is still carrying baggage from his abnormal upbringing.

“A lot of what I’ve been through has been very public,” he said, alluding to his childhood. “I had a lot of issues surrounding that. I know now that for a very long time, I just kind of put my head down and never really dealt with it. I checked a lot of the metaphorical boxes from the time I was 15 on. And I got hit with waves of it in the past little while and haven’t handled any of those waves right for a long period of time, and things just continued to escalate for the past three years.”

Ryan acknowledges that he’s made strides in therapy, but coming to terms with his childhood emotions is still a work in progress.

“It’s something I need to let go and put in my past. I’m still continuing to let go of some more of it,” he said. He made a point of saying that while the therapy sessions have been difficult, he will continue to go through them in the months ahead.

The death of his mother, Melody, in the summer of 2016 after a battle with liver cancer did not help matters for Ryan, who admitted on Friday that his problem has been mounting for the better part of three years. He did acknowledge that his wife, Danielle, who he called “a rock star” throughout this whole ordeal, and their two young children were a catalyst in him seeking help a few months ago.

“I got to point where I said is enough is enough with the shame and guilt and not being the person you need to be for your family,” Ryan said. 

While he admits to being apprehensive about having to share his story on such a public platform, Ryan said he hopes it helps other people who are battling addictions to consider seeking help.

“I guess in that sense there’s a silver lining. I would like to be a role model for other reasons. Everything has led me to here. I wish it hadn’t taken so long for me to get here,” Ryan explained. “If there’s anybody that hears it in some sense and recognize something and find a way to ask for help — hopefully less publicly — then I urge them to do it.”

Ryan, who produced just one goal in 16 games this season, said that his return to the lineup is imminent and he anticipates rejoining the team in the next two weeks. Looking trim and lean, Ryan says he’s lost about 10 pounds and has cleared all of the medical and physical testing required to return to the lineup. 

When he does make his return, Ryan knows there will be a degree of cynicism in the marketplace for a player who has largely failed to live up to the massive seven-year, $50 million contract he signed in the fall of 2014.

“People have reservations about where I’m at in my career and my contract and I understand that. I’m not saying that I’m going come out of this and play to the $7 million dollar guy that I want to be as much as everyone else does,” he said. “But this is a chance for me to reset and prove that I can play in this league and that I can contribute.”

Ryan is hopeful that his chance to return is during a home game. While the club has not given Ryan an indication of a potential return date, Thursday’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks could be a realistic target. Ryan emphasized that it would be more meaningful for him for his return to take place at Canadian Tire Centre.

“In a sense, I hope it’s at home because my wife and kids will be here for that,” Ryan said to wrap up his media session, his voice cracking with emotion for the first time. “They’ve earned this as much as I have.”

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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena

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LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap

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In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates

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Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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