Whether it’s the intricate wooden structure of the Eissatadion Davos, with it’s see-through roof and rabid fans; colourful uniforms; officials donning SwissMilk uni’s, the Spengler Cup has always been fun to watch during the holiday season.
Usually viewing from afar, somewhere in North America, Bobby Ryan always wondered what it would be like to play in the holiday tournament.
Ryan jumped at the opportunity to head to Switzerland, accepting an invite from Ambri-Piotta general manager Paolo Duca.
“The decision was easy. Ambri called, I answered. I’ve been a fan of the tournament. Playing in Canada and seeing it on TSN, I always wanted to feel that atmosphere. It will be a little off with Covid but still, Davos and that building win out on the chance,” Ryan told Full Press Hockey Wednesday.
Currently a free agent, released from a PTO by the Detroit Red Wings during training camp, the 34-year old was hoping he’d get that call.
“I’m extremely excited. I was borderline depressed as the NHL season started and had to regroup to set my sights on something else – whether on or off ice. As this came up, I got back at it, and I’m hoping to be in good form here by the 26th,” explained Ryan.
Ryan, who’s residing in a Lugano hotel, is chomping at the bit to meet up with his new teammates on Christmas Day, only one day prior to the tourney opening.
Also, as I’m staying in Lugano. I have to say how beautiful it is here as well. I’ve been beyond lucky this trip so far. pic.twitter.com/x4LB9XHk4W
— Bobby Ryan (@Bobbyry5409) December 22, 2021
In a strange twist, Ryan will not be playing for Ambri-Piotta in Davos. Like Canada, the club pulled out of the tourney. Duca, the Ambri-Piotta GM contacted SC Bern GM Raino Raffainer to see if he wished to Ryan to his team. Who would say “no” to having a 14-year veteran NHL player added to your roster?
The Bern Selects, basically, a Swiss League All-Star squad will be comprised of SC Bern, SCL Tigers and EHC Biel.
Ryan will have some familiar company when he steps on the ice Saturday for practice. Former Senators’ Cory Conacher and Phil Varone are also members of the Bern. Another ex-Sen, Antti Tormanen is the head coach. Tormanen played 50 games with Ottawa in 1995-96.
Ryan is hoping at least one of Conacher or Varone will be skating alongside him.
“I absolutely loved Varone in his short time with us, and I thought he was a really damn good player. Same with “Cons”- unfortunately, both a little small for what the NHL daily grind gives to guys and I think they’ve carved awesome careers out. Hoping I get to play with one of them. They both play fast, smart, and are really good in open space, which we have tons of here. I haven’t played for a bit here so the speed and playmaking of those guys is intriguing.”
Once his time at the Spengler concludes, Ryan will return to Nashville to be with his family. He doesn’t have any intention of remaining in Switzerland to finish out the campaign and is unsure what his next adventure brings.
“I have every intention of going back to Nashville in time to see my kids start school in early January, and then have discussions about if and what’s next.”
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