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GARRIOCH: Bobby Ryan opens up about his battles with alcohol and his determination to resume playing – Ottawa Sun

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Bobby Ryan spoke from the heart Friday about the biggest battle he’s faced in his life.

Speaking at the Canadian Tire Centre for the first time since entering the NHL’s Players’ Assistance program in November, the 32-year-old winger told reporters he’s battling alcoholism and is determined to get his career back on track when he returns to the lineup next week.

When that happens, the 12-year veteran and 2015 all-star will be suiting up for the first time since Nov. 16 against the Buffalo Sabres. He had a goal and three assists in 14 games before shutting it down, but also a resume that included four 30-goal seasons with the Anaheim Ducks before being traded to the Senators to start the 2013-14 campaign.

Ryan indicated he’d been dealing with his alcoholism issue for years, and he sought help only when it finally got to the point where he realized he couldn’t do it on his own.

“I’m doing great,” said Ryan. “I’ve been back in some capacity since December and what the capacity is gets gradually updated. I’m doing very, very well. It’s been trying at times but everybody has been very supportive and my recovery has been a process and a learning thing for me, for sure. I’ve come a long way and I’ve just learned to get a little bit better each day.”


Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators returned to the ice at Canadian Tire Centre, February 21, 2020.

Jean Levac /

Postmedia News

Ryan said making this decision wasn’t easy because this is something he would have rather dealt with privately. And though he’d tried to quit drinking on his own, it wasn’t working.

“It’s been tough. It’s gotten a little easier every day as you get a little more integrated, just being around the guys,” he said. “The first month was very tough, and then you come back and you’re very isolated with what you’re doing and trying to make the baby steps to come back. You’re going through the protocol, but you’re not around the guys.

“Thankfully for me, I got the other affairs in order and I was able to come to the rink and get a little bit better and a little bit stronger every day. The guys have been great. Away from the rink, my wife (Danielle) has been an absolute rock star, allowing me to do this. She’s taken on more than she’s probably had to, but she’s been absolutely incredible.”

Ryan was at the point where his life was out of control and he had to make this step if he was going to have any chance at recovery. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing for him to do.

“It’s something I’ve been battling for a while. I’ve tried on my own and I was already getting help for it,” Ryan said. “What I was doing wasn’t enough, I was trying white knuckle things and do things the wrong way and I’d have 20 days of nothing and one really bad one and you just can’t get better without it.


Bobby Ryan of the Ottawa Senators returned to the ice at Canadian Tire Centre, February 21, 2020.

Jean Levac /

Postmedia News

“There’s such a stigma around asking for help, and just trying to do it. I’ve done that for a long time and finally, I guess you could call it a panic attack, but it was more of a realization that the route I was going had no good end in sight. That’s not just professionally, but personally.

“I didn’t want to continue to do that. I had a lot of times when I woke up in the morning just over-ridden with guilt and shame and saying I would do something. I’d do it for 12 days then I’d be messing up again. It wasn’t going to lead … it had no good end.”

Doing this during the season wasn’t the route Ryan wanted to take but, in the end, he had no choice but to leave the team in Detroit to enter the program.

“That’s probably why it took me longer,” he said. “In a perfect world, I would have gone in June and just kind of done it quietly. I realized it happens when it happens and I spent two weeks agonizing over the fact it was going to be a media thing for me. I spent months and years before that trying to avoid that by just doing it on my own.

“I got to a point where I said enough is enough of this shame and the guilt and not being the person you need to be for your family. It happens when it happens. I’ve learned that and I’m starting to accept it a little bit. I’ve dreaded this day for the better part of three months but if you’re going to take time to try to heal yourself you’re going to have to face the music, right?”

A father of two, Ryan is pleased he took this step.

“I just needed to learn how to start,” the Cherry Hill, N.J. native said. “I don’t have any of the fear of missing out or the issue of not drinking. The issue for me was stopping. Unfortunately, I just never had a period of my life when there were people around me to help me really stop. It took me going somewhere to figure that out and giving myself a dry period to start.

“That was very, very beneficial for me. It helped immensely. As tough as it is personally to deal with, I’m immensely happy that I did it.”

Other players who have been through this have reached out to Ryan to help him.

“Everybody knows some of the guys who’ve been through the program and can be a little more vocal about it and I’ve talked to all of those guys. I’ve played with some of them and really leaned on them,” Ryan said. “Some guys reached out that I had no clue had already gone through it and they did it quietly and they did it in June and it worked for them.

“That kind of support within the NHL I found overwhelming. It was incredible how many guys reached out that I had no idea about and had no prior contact.”

Ryan is hoping that by sharing his message, he can help others and you have to believe that will be the case because of the details he used to describe his issue.

“In that sense, there’s a silver lining,” he said. “I’d like to be a role model for other reasons, but everything led me to here. I wish it hadn’t taken so long in the last three years to get to where I am, but I would urge anybody … I read so many articles about other players in certain capacities because I had a lot of time on my hands that I drew parallels with a lot of guys.

“So, if there’s anybody who hears it, and can recognize something and find a way to ask  for help, then I urge them do it.”

Ryan said he feels at peace with himself.

“A lot of what I’ve been through is very public, not just in this regard, but with familiar stuff,” Ryan said. “It’s not a catalyst for it, but it’s a lot of it. I think for a very long time, I just kind of put my head down and never dealt with any of it. Things just continued to escalate for the last three years. My therapy is going to continue. It’s not fun, but it’s something I need to let go and put in my past.

“I’ve started to do that but I feel great and at peace with a lot of it but I’ve still got to let go some more of it.”

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter: @sungarrioch

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The most compelling matchups to watch on Monday at the National Bank Open – Sportsnet.ca

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After a weekend of qualifying in extreme heat, the National Bank Open picks up steam on Monday with the main draw beginning for the women in Toronto and the men in Montreal. 

While the schedule looks fun, the only issue could be the weather, with rain in the forecast in both cities. 

Here’s a look at the most compelling matchups at both venues on opening day. 

Women’s headliner

No. 13 Leylah Annie Fernandez (Canada) vs. Qualifier Storm Sanders (Australia), 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT 

Fernandez, from Laval, Que., plays her first match since suffering a Grade 3 stress fracture in her right foot in a quarterfinal loss at the French Open on May 31. 

The 19-year-old Canadian has a favourable draw, facing a player ranked outside the top 200. 

Sanders hasn’t won a match in a main draw this year. 

Men’s headliner

Denis Shapovalov (Canada) vs. Alex de Minaur (Australia), 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT 

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., has slipped to No. 22 in the rankings – as of Sunday — after losing seven of his past eight matches. 

De Minaur was one spot above him at No. 21. 

The Australian is 2-0 lifetime against Shapovalov, who hopes to replicate his 2017 Montreal magic when he stunned Rafael Nadal.

Other highlights

Serena Williams (U.S.) vs. ‘Lucky Loser’ Nuria Parrizas-Diaz (Spain), Approximately 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT 

The 40-year-old Williams will play an official singles match for just the second time this year on Monday. 

After losing in the first round at Wimbledon, the 23-time Grand Slam champ begins hard-court prep for the U.S. Open against a player ranked outside the top 50. 

Last time in Toronto in 2019, Williams made the final before retiring because of injury in the first set against Canada’s Bianca Andreescu. 

Andy Murray (Great Britain) vs. No. 10 Taylor Fritz (U.S.), Not before 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT 

With Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal not in Montreal, Murray is the lone player from that familiar foursome to be taking the court. 

Now 35, Murray will be an underdog against Fritz. The Brit did reach a final in June at the Stuttgart Open, but then exited in the second round of Wimbledon at home. 

Fritz has been battling a foot injury and stopped playing a match last week in the third set in Washington, where temperatures were very high. 

Fritz has said the injury has prevented him from doing his usual fitness routine. 

Full women’s schedule

Centre court (starts at 11 a.m. ET) 

[15] Simona Halep (ROU) vs. [LL] Donna Vekic (CRO)  

[LL] Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) vs Serena Williams (USA)  

Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Sofia Kenin (USA)  

Night session (starts at 7 p.m. ET) 

{Q] Storm Sanders (AUS) vs. [13] Leylah Annie Fernandez (CAN)  

Jill Teichmann (SUI) vs. [WC] Venus Williams (USA)  

National Bank Grandstand Court (starts at 11 a.m. ET) 

Elena Rybakina (KAZ) vs. [Q] Marie Bouzkova (CZE)  

Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) vs. [14] Karolina Pliskova (CZE)  

Alize Cornet (FRA) vs. Caroline Garcia (FRA)  

Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. Alison Riske-Amritraj (USA)  

[WC] Katherine Sebov (CAN) vs. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ)  

Court 1 (starts at 11 a.m. ET) 

Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) vs. Martina Trevisan (ITA)  

[16] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) vs. Anhelina Kalinina (UKR)  

[Q] Asia Muhammad (USA) vs. Madison Keys (USA)  

Court 4 (12 p.m. ET) 

[8] A. Guarachi (CHI) / A. Klepac (SLO) vs. [WC] R. Marino (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN)

Full Montreal Schedule

Centre Court (starts at 12 p.m.) 

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 

Not before 2 p.m. ET: [WC] Andy Murray (GBR) vs. [10] Taylor Fritz (USA) 

Night session (starts at 6:30 p.m. ET) 

Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs. Alex de Minaur (AUS) 

[12] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 

Rogers Court (starts at 12 p.m. ET) 

Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) vs. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 

Alexander Bublik (KAZ) vs. Jenson Brooksby (USA) 

[Q] Hugo Gaston (FRA) vs. [Q] Jack Draper (GBR) 

Night session (starts at 6:30 p.m. ET) 

[Q] Marcos Giron (USA) vs. [14] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 

[Q] Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs. Holger Rune (DEN) 

Court 9 (starts at 12 p.m. ET) 

Alex Molcan (SVK) vs. Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 

G. Dimitrov (BUL) / A. Rublev vs. M. Ebden (AUS) / M. Purcell (AUS) 

B. Bonzi (FRA) / G. Monfils (FRA) vs. [WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sinner (ITA) 

[Q] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs. [Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 

Court 5 (starts at 1 p.m. ET) 

[6] T. Puetz (GER) / M. Venus (NZL) vs.H. Hurkacz (POL) / J. Zielinski (POL) 

J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs. D. Evans (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 

Sportsnet broadcast schedule

Women’s: 11 a.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE / SN NOW); 6:30 p.m. ET (SN NOW) 

Men’s: 12 p.m. ET (Sportsnet / SN NOW); 6:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE) 

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Canada’s $30 billion online gambling market

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Canada's $30 billion online gambling market

Canada has traditionally been a first mover in North America when it comes to the more progressive areas of legal reform. The nation was among the first in the world to legalize recreational cannabis, and sports betting was legalized in 1985, more than 30 years before the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA.

However, one area where Canada lags behind is when it comes to placing wagers online. Reforms are finally being seen this year in the shape of Ontario launching a new iGaming market in April and the federal ban on single-event sports betting being lifted last year. It’s not before time, however, as the Canadian online casino market alone is estimated to be worth more than $30 billion per year.

 

The popularity of online casinos

Market research carried out last year showed that seven out of 10 Canadians who gambled did so online. That’s an astonishing figure for a country that, at the time, had no online gambling infrastructure of its own. It left the field completely open for offshore operators, and a glance at Gamble Online (https://www.gambleonline.co/en-ca/) shows there are plenty out there actively targeting Canadian real money casino gamers. Many, for example, accept Canadian dollar or offer other viable alternatives such as Bitcoin.

Slot games dominate in terms of both popularity and the total amount wagered, which is no great surprise given the thousands of different games there are in this category. Roulette is the top-rated table game among Canadians, with blackjack and poker following closely behind.

The fact that Canadian gamblers know what they like and where to find it means there’s no guarantees as to when or even if they will switch from the offshore providers to Canadian online casinos as and when they become available. Ontario residents will provide the first clue.

 

Advantages of using a licensed casino

The advantages of switching from an unlicensed offshore operator to a licensed one are plain to see. There is better consumer protection if something goes wrong, such as the casino going bankrupt or having a major data breach. There are more payment options, as banks will have no qualms about dealing with a locally licensed provider. Finally, and especially now, in what are still the early days, there are numerous bonuses and promotions as the casinos compete for your business.

Of course, using a casino that is licensed to operate in Ontario helps to generate tax revenue, too, which ultimately works to everybody’s benefit.

 

What about the downsides?

Casinos have to meet certain requirements in order to be granted a Canadian license. This is logical, but the regulator needs to take a pragmatic approach. In Germany and the Netherlands, gaming has become so tightly controlled in terms of wagering limits and the speed of slot games that some gamblers have been voting with their feet and going back to the unlicensed offshore alternatives.

 

It is still too early to draw definitive conclusions, but the indications are that Ontario has balanced things better, only prohibiting autoplay and placing a 2.5 second minimum spin time on slots.

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2022 IIHF World Junior Championship – Schedule, rosters, results – ESPN

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The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship was postponed in December due to an outbreak of COVID-19. The tournament will restart on Aug. 9 in Edmonton, Alberta, and conclude with the gold-medal and bronze-medal games on Aug. 20.

Nine out of 10 teams that participated in the earlier event will be back, including Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. The team from Russia has been excluded because of that nation’s invasion of Ukraine, and Latvia will take its place in Group A.

Follow along as the tournament proceeds, with the game schedule and results, along with rosters for all 10 nations.

Game schedule

Note: All times Eastern.

Aug. 9

Czech Republic vs. Slovakia, 2 p.m.
Latvia vs. Finland, 6 p.m.
United States vs. Germany, 10 p.m.


Aug. 10

Sweden vs. Switzerland, 2 p.m.
Latvia vs. Canada, 6 p.m.
Germany vs. Austria, 10 p.m.


Aug. 11

Finland vs. Czech Republic, 2 p.m.
Slovakia vs. Canada, 6 p.m.
Switzerland vs. United States, 10 p.m.


Aug. 12

Austria vs. Sweden, 2 p.m.
Slovakia vs. Latvia, 6 p.m.


Aug. 13

Austria vs. United States, 2 p.m.
Canada vs. Czech Republic, 6 p.m.
Germany vs. Switzerland, 10 p.m.


Aug. 14

Finland vs. Slovakia, 2 p.m.
Czech Republic vs. Latvia, 6 p.m.
United States vs. Sweden, 10 p.m.


Aug. 15

Switzerland vs. Austria, 2 p.m.
Canada vs. Finland, 6 p.m.
Sweden vs. Germany, 10 p.m.


Aug. 17

Quarterfinal 1, 12 p.m.
Quarterfinal 2, 3:30 p.m.
Quarterfinal 3, 7 p.m.
Quarterfinal 4, 10:30 p.m.


Aug. 19

Semifinal 1, 4 p.m.
Semifinal 2, 8 p.m.


Aug. 20

Bronze-medal game, 4 p.m.
Gold-medal game, 8 p.m.

Rosters

Note: Players drafted by NHL teams are denoted in parentheses.

Group A

Canada

Forwards

Connor Bedard
Will Cuylle (NYR)
Elliot Desnoyers (PHI)
William Dufour (NYI)
Tyson Foerster (PHI)
Nathan Gaucher (ANA)
Ridly Greig (OTT)
Kent Johnson (CBJ)
Riley Kidney (MTL)
Mason McTavish (ANA)
Zack Ostapchuk (OTT)
Brennan Othmann (NYR)
Joshua Roy (MTL)
Logan Stankoven (DAL)

Defensemen

Lukas Cormier (VGK)
Ethan Del Mastro (CHI)
Daemon Hunt (MIN)*
Carson Lambos (MIN)
Ryan O’Rourke (MIN)
Donovan Sebrango (DET)
Ronan Seeley (CAR)
Jack Thompson (TB)
Olen Zellweger (ANA)

*Replaced due to injury

Goaltenders

Brett Brochu
Sebastian Cossa (DET)
Dylan Garand (NYR)


Czech Republic

Forwards

Jaroslav Chmelar (NYR)
Michal Gut
Petr Hauser (NJ)
Daniel Hercik
Ivan Ivan
Jakub Kos (FLA)
Jiri Kulich (BUF)
Adam Mechura
Matous Mensik
Jan Mysak (MTL)
Martin Rysavy (CBJ)
Matyas Sapovaliv (VGK)
Gabriel Szturc
Tomas Urban

Defenseman

Ales Cech
Tomas Hamara (OTT)
David Jiricek (CBJ)
David Moravec
Stepan Nemec
David Spacek (MIN)
Stanislav Svozil (CBJ)
Jiri Tichacek

Goaltenders

Jan Bednar (DET)
Pavel Cajan
Tomas Suchanek


Finland

Forwards

Samuel Helenius (LA)
Roni Hirvonen (TOR)
Roby Järventie (OTT)
Oliver Kapanen (MTL)
Roni Karvinen
Joakim Kemell (NSH)
Ville Koivunen (CAR)
Brad Lambert (WPG)
Eetu Liukas (NYI)
Juuso Mäenpää
Joel Määttä (EDM)
Aatu Räty (NYI)
Kasper Simontaival (LA)
Kalle Väisänen (NYR)

Defensemen

Aleksi Heimosalmi (CAR)
Joni Jurmo (VAN)
Topi Niemelä (TOR)
Petteri Nurmi (MTL)
Kasper Puutio (FLA)
Ruben Rafkin
Matias Rajaniemi (NYI)
Eemil Viro (DET)

Goaltenders

Juha Jatkola
Jani Lampinen
Leevi Meriläinen (OTT)


Latvia

Forwards

Daniels Andersons
Rainers Darzins
Darels Dukurs
Felikss Gavars
Oskars Lapinskis
Martins Lavins
Dans Locmelis (BOS)
Peteris Purmalis
Anri Ravinskis
Rainers Rullers
Girts Silkalns
Klavs Veinbergs (TB)
Sandis Vilmanis (FLA)
Raimonds Vitolins

Defensemen

Ralfs Bergmanis
Harijs Brants
Peteris Bulans
Niks Fenenko
Daniels Gorsanovs
Bogdans Hodass
Gustavs Ozolins
Rihards Simanovics

Goaltenders

Patriks Berzins
Bruno Bruveris
Rudolfs Lazdins


Slovakia

Forwards

Jakub Demek (VGK)
Dalibor Dvorsky
Roman Faith
Samuel Honzek
Maros Jedlicka
Matej Kaslik
Jakub Kolenic
Lubomir Kupco
Martin Misiak
Oleksii Myklukha
Libor Nemec
Servác Petrovský (MIN)
Peter Repcik
Oliver Stümpel
Adam Sýkora (NYR)

Defensemen

Denis Bakala
Simon Becar
Simon Groch
Viliam Kmec
Michal Laurencik
Dávid Nátny
Rayen Petrovicky
Maxim Strbak
Adam Stripai
Boris Zabka

Goaltenders

Patrik Andrisik
Tomas Bolo
Simon Latkoczy


Group B

Austria

Forwards

Luca Auer
Jonas Dobnig
Tim Geifes
Maximilian Hengelmüller
Nico Kramer
Moritz Lackner
Oskar Maier
Senna Peeters
Ian Scherzer
Lucas Thaler
Finn van Ee
Leon Wallner
Janick Wernicke

Defensemen

Lukas Hörl
Lorenz Lindner
Matteo Mitrovic
Lukas Necesany
Maximilian Preiml
David Reinbacher
Tobias Sablattnig
Christoph Tialler
Martin Urbanek

Goaltenders

Thomas Pfarrmaier
Leon Sommer
Sebastian Wraneschitz


Germany

Forwards

Alexander Blank
Ryan Del Monte
Josef Eham
Luca Hauf
Haakon Hanelt (WSH)
Nikolaus Heigl
Thomas Heigl
Danjo Leonhardt
Yannick Proske
Bennet Rossmy
Maciej Rutkowski
Joshua Samanski
Markus Schweiger
Justin Volek

Defenders

Arkadiusz Dziambor
Nils Elten
Korbinian Geibe
Maximilian Glotzl
Adrian Klein
Luca Munzenberger (EDM)
Maksymilian Szuber (ARI)
Leon van der Linde

Goalkeepers

Florian Bugl
Niklas Lunemann
Nikita Quapp (CAR)


Sweden

Forwards

Jonathan Lekkerimäki (VAN)
Daniel Ljungman (DAL)
Fabian Lysell (BOS)
Oskar Magnusson (WSH)
Theodor Niederbach (DET)
Oskar Olausson (COL)
Isak Rosén (BUF)
Albert Sjöberg (DAL)
Linus Sjödin (BUF)
Åke Stakkestad
Victor Stjernborg (CHI)
Daniel Torgersson (WPG)

Defensemen

Emil Andrae (PHI)
Simon Edvinsson (DET)
Måns Forsfjäll
Helge Grans (LA)
Ludvig Jansson (FLA)
Anton Olsson (NSH)
William Wallinder (DET)

Goaltenders

Calle Clang (ANA)
Carl Lindbom (VGK)
Jesper Wallstedt (MIN)


Switzerland

Forwards

Mats Alge
Dario Allenspach
Nicolas Baechler
Attilio Biasca
Joshua Fahrni
Lilian Garessus
Marlon Graf
Joel Henry
Simon Knak (NSH)
Joel Marchon
Tim Muggli
Kevin Nicolet
Fabian Ritzmann
Jonas Taibel

Defensemen

Giancarlo Chanton
Noah Delémont
Vincent Despont
Rodwin Dionicio
Nick Meile
Arno Nussbaumer
Dario Sidler
Maximilian Streule
Brian Zanetti (PHI)

Goaltenders

Andri Henauer
Kevin Pasche
Noah Patenaude


United States

Forwards

Brett Berard (NYR)
Thomas Bordeleau (SJ)
Logan Cooley (ARI)
Matt Coronato (CGY)
Riley Duran (BOS)
Dominic James (CHI)
Matthew Knies (TOR)
Carter Mazur (DET)
Hunter McKown
Sasha Pastujov (ANA)
Mackie Samoskevich (FLA)
Redmond Savage (DET)
Landon Slaggert (CHI)
Charlie Stramel

Defensemen

Sean Behrens (COL)
Brock Faber (MIN)
Luke Hughes (NJ)
Wyatt Kaiser (CHI)
Tyler Kleven (OTT)
Ian Moore (ANA)
Jack Peart (MIN)
Jacob Truscott (VAN)

Goaltenders

Remington Keopple
Kaidan Mbereko
Andrew Oke

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