St. Louis Teen Aspires to Be NHL Coach
Total Hockey Helps Make Wishes Come True
Total Hockey recently teamed up with Make-A-Wish Foundation to help grant 16-year-old James Ryan his wish of a lifetime. The St. Louis native received the opportunity to not only meet the players and executives of the St. Louis Blues, but also have the rare chance to participate in a practice, standing alongside Blues head coach, Davis Payne. To enhance this wish and make the experience even more remarkable and memorable for the St. Louis-area teen, Total Hockey donated a custom Cascade M11 helmet and a few coaching essentials.
In addition to his VIP tour of Scottrade and a practice with the Blues, the St. Louis teen also sat in the radio broadcast booth with Chris Kerber and Kelly Chase, and called the play-by-play action for the second period of the Blues game against the New York Rangers on January 16. James’ passion for hockey began at an early age – from the first time he saw former Blues defenseman Chris Pronger play, James was hooked. He began playing hockey shortly after — at the age of five, dreaming of the day he would hit the ice and face off as a St. Louis Blue. In October 2007, James was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and potent form of cancer found most often among children ages 0 to 15. He underwent grueling chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Throughout all of this, James kept up with his love of hockey. Most days, he would go directly from treatment to the rink for practice. James is currently a junior at Lafayette High School, playing for the junior varsity team as he gradually rebuilds his strength. He has been cancer-free for more than a year now. When asked why he is still playing hockey, James replied, “It’s my passion. Stuff happens [in life], but you can’t let it get you down. You move on.” And that’s exactly what James is doing. While James’ plans have altered due to the amount of treatment he has endured, he hasn’t given up on an NHL career. He plans on switching gears from playing to coaching. “Cancer has taken his dream of being an NHL player,” said Lauren Ryan, James’ mother, “but it will not take away his dream of being an NHL coach.” James’ positive attitude and optimistic outlook on life is not only admirable, but also one that helped him survive and will only continue to assist him in his future endeavors of achieving his NHL goals.