Bloomington Jefferson girls hockey team honors former coach Mike Ryan
Bloomington Jefferson girls hockey coach Mike Ryan tragically lost his life in April. Under the leadership of new coach Mark Johnson, this season is about honoring coach Ryan.
The team wears commemorative patches on their pre-game jerseys and the boys team honors him by wearing Ryan’s old No. 11 on their practice jerseys. Ryan was on the 1989 Jefferson state championship team and was a fixture in the Bloomington youth hockey program.
"It’s for him, the season’s for him. He was super excited to coach us. Everybody wishes he was here today," said Jefferson senior captain Grace Schuck.
***To see our story on how the Jaguars are honoring coach Ryan, click play above. The link also includes full-length interviews with new coach Mark Johnson, two of his captains, and Alyssa Ryan, Mike’s older daughter.***
Alyssa Ryan, a junior defenseman and Mike’s older daughter, finds solace every time she takes the ice with her teammates.
"For me I love being at the rink. It’s the best part of my day. I feel closer to him here (at the rink) than anywhere else," said Alyssa Ryan.
New head coach Mark Johnson may have taken over the coaching reigns, but his philosophy certainly mirrors the foundation of what coach Ryan already set in place.
"I know he’s out there. I want to do things the way he would’ve done it, but I also coach in my pattern, but yet I know he’s behind us and he’s with us," said Johnson.
Coach Ryan would be proud to know that the Jaguars are off to a 6-2 start this year. Their season motto could be, ‘Be Like Mike.’