Thursday, September 23, 2010

Husky with Heart

Former Husky hockey player Ryan Malone has long been known for his character on and off the ice. His strength and determination first reached national notoriety during the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Malone first took a hit from Detroit's Niklas Kronwell which broke his nose in game one of the finals. In game five of the finals Malone was struck again by taking a puck to the face from a slapshot, courtesy of Hal Gill, which opened a gash on his face and further damaging his nose and bruising his orbital bone. Malone (missing ONLY 2 shifts) shrugged the injury off saying: 
"It's a pretty big game. You play all your life for a chance to play in games like that, so if there's any way you can go, you play. My coach was worried about me. I told him, 'Don't worry. I'm fine.' And I really was. In hockey, it's just pride. You're supposed to be big, strong and tough anyway, and at this time of year, there's so much pride playing for the Cup. You've been hearing about it since you were 2 years old.''
Ryan Malone then went on to make more national news for his exemplary play during the 2010 Olympics putting up 5 points in 6 games in USA's route to the Gold Medal game. However, last night I learned another thing about Ryan Malone and his dedication to the sport and to his team.

Last night, watching the Blackhawks/ Lightning preseason game, I had my eye on Lightning player #12. Assuming this to be Ryan Malone, I got excited early on anytime he got close to the puck. However, I soon realized that #12 was Lightning addition Simon Gagne. My wife and I both perplexed as to why Malone was not wearing jersey #12, began to investigate immediately. I found this article over at Pro Hockey Talk that discusses the jersey number change. Essentially, the article talks about how Ryan Malone gave up the #12 and instead took #6 as a gesture to welcome Gagne to his new team and expected nothing in return. Malone had this to say:
"I said we're happy to have him on the team. He's done some great things with that number and it was time for a change for myself, I thought, so it was no problem at all. I just said with open arms, 'Come join the team.' "
Gagne's response to such a generous offer:
"It showed the class of the guy. I heard a lot of great things about him, but by giving No. 12 away that just showed the person he is. I'll try to buy him dinner on the road this year or something like that. It's a number I've been wearing since I was a kid, so it means a lot to me."
"I called him back and asked him what he wanted for it and he said nothing. I never met the guy. I never met anyone here. It showed the welcome."
Ryan Malone truly is a class act and is a great example of the high quality and high character players that have come through St. Cloud State. Go Huskies!

1 comment:

  1. I always liked Ryan too, in fact ran into him and Adam Coole in Granite City the summer before Coole joined the Huskies. I bought them dinner, and Ryan came over to our table to say thanks and meet my wife. I figured they were poor college kids and could use to keep a few bucks in there pockets. I'm thinkin now he can buy his own dinner. One thing though that always pissed me off was how he quit on his team his senior year. Remember at about Christmas that year he wasn't in the line up and supposedly had some phantom injury. Come to find out through another team member that he had quit going to school and CD was attempting to disaplin him by pulling him out of the line up. Well, it backfired and Malone jsut went through the motions the last half of the season. In all the years I've been watching SCSU hockey I've never seen someone so disinterested as malone was when they played the first round of the playoffs at Duluth that year. The huskies were bounced in three and Malone was awful. Now you might want to blame CD...and there would be some blame warrented there..but Malone let the whole team down and for that I don't look back on him with fond memories.


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