Ryan Smyth has done what countless NHL defensemen have tried to do over so many seasons. Remove him from in front of the net.
He recently announced his retirement from the game and his parents, Jim and Dixie were on hand to hear the news.
“I guess it was bittersweet in the fact that you knew at some point it was going to happen but I thought he might play for another year,” said Jim.
Having watched his son grow through the years as a player Jim says Ryan was always that style of player in any league.
“He had a nose for the net and the more he could be around it the more comfortable he was. I often said to him, Ryan, why do you stand in front of the net and take so much punishment? He said ‘Dad, that’s the style I play’.”
Now before you think Jim and Dixie can now cross off arena visits during the winter, think again.
“The blessing is that we have grandchildren. We have 10 of them and our oldest grandchild has been drafted by the Saskatoon Blades. The other ones still play some good hockey so I guess we will be in several rinks.”
Jim is quick to point out although Ryan was the most recent son in the spotlight all three of the Smyth boys (brothers Kevin and Jared) made their parents proud.
“In the fact that they all loved the sport and they all had the desire to go on further in it,” said Jim.
Ryan was involved with charity work throughout Central Alberta and that was another source of pride for mom and dad, giving back to the community in some way.
Jim says the final night was a very surreal experience for them, seeing what the Oilers organization did for him as he called it a career and how the fans reacted.
His legacy will likely be his work ethic and how he represented Canada on the international stage but Jim isn’t sure how his son will be able to stay retired given his love for the game.
“I would say he will (stay retired), taking a break but when hockey starts he will be in some rink to help out in some capacity.”