A look inside the life and times of Senators star Bobby Ryan

Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan during training camp at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Sept....

Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan during training camp at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Sept. 11, 2013. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

TIM BAINES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:43 AM ET

OTTAWA -

“Who we are cannot be separated from where we're from.”

— Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

To fully understand Senators winger Bobby Ryan, to get who he is and what he is about, you'd need to have walked in his shoes — know what it feels like to live in the shadows.

Instead of going to a classroom from Grades 6-9, each day you'd need to go to the hockey rink where your mom works. You'd need to pick up the curriculum from the school, find the motivation to study on your own for three hours each morning, then put on skates and spend the afternoon on the ice — a place where everything seems to make sense, where you can dream that dream, that one day you'll play in the National Hockey League.

As a 12-year-old, you'd be awakened by the ruckus created when U.S. marshals arrest your dad after breaking down the door of your family's apartment.

You'd need to figure out why your last name was suddenly changed.

You'd need to understand why coaches yelled at you, why they found the negatives, why they couldn't understand that within you, there is a sensitivity to go along with a creativity.

Bobby Ryan is bright, articulate and personable — a good guy. He's a wonderful hockey player, already a four-time 30-goal scorer. He's just 26.

Along his journey, at a young age, the boy had to become a man. His is a story of perseverance, of resilience. Its hockey chapters would have been cut far too short if not for the intervention of a sports psychologist.


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