Senators’ Bobby Ryan gets emotional after scoring hat trick in Ottawa return following leave of absence

Thursday was a big night for Bobby Ryan before he even stepped onto the ice in Ottawa. As the Senators were set to take on the Canucks at Canadian Tire Centre, Ryan was getting ready to play his first home game for the Sens in over three months. As luck would have it, it ended up being a big night for the winger on the score sheet as well. 

Earlier this season, Ryan stepped away from hockey and took an indefinite leave of absence from the Senators as he sought treatment for alcohol abuse. After spending months in the league’s player assistance program, Ryan finally felt ready to return to the Senators this week and he played his first game since November when Ottawa took on the Predators in Nashville.

But the 32-year-old winger took to the ice in Ottawa for his second game since returning, and the Senators’ faithful greeted him with a warm ovation as he took to the ice. Ryan continued to give them plenty of reasons to cheer as he scored not one, not two but three times in his homecoming. 

Yes, a hat trick on his big night. 

He scored the first on a net-front tip of a Nikita Zaitsev shot in the first period and wore a huge smile on his face as he celebrated with teammates afterward.

The winger also closed out an eventful first period by dropping the gloves with Vancouver’s Chris Tanev.

Ryan would go on to add two more goals late in the third period, including an empty-netter, to seal the hat trick. After potting the third, the home crowd gave Ryan a huge ovation and chanted “BOB-BY, BOB-BY” to celebrate the achievement. Taking it all in on the bench, Ryan was emotional as he acknowledged the crowd’s support.

The Senators went on to win by a final score of 5-2. Ryan was named the game’s First Star.

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