Q&A with Ryan Hand, Hull Stingrays Enforcer
Ryan Hand Q&A session
Ryan Hand is a 27 year old tough guy. He played Junior hockey in the QMJHL with Baie-Comeau Drakkar and while in that league he was one of the leading fighters on a team that lead the league in fighting majors in 2003-2004 season.
Hand then started Pro hockey in the toughest league in the world, the LNAH. He signed with Saint-Hyacinthe Top Design. A team that also had Enforcer Sean McMorrow as well as Kyle Termini, Manuel Frechette, Craig Brunel among the tough guys in the roster that season. Hand in his first two season's as a pro fought the likes of Brandon Sugden, Jon Mirasty, Jacques Dube, Mike Varhaug, Louis Bedard, Mike Brault, Brandon Christian, Jason Rushton and many more LNAH heavyweights.
Hand then went to America and floated around a number of teams in the ECHL / CHL leagues. Fighting names like Mike Sgroi, Colk King, Brett Clouthier, Justin Johnson, Luke Gazdic, Erick Lizon.
Ryan Hand then signed in the UK as enforcer for the Hull Stingrays of the EIHL in 2012. This season Hand has fought all the other leading tough guys in our league like Benn Olson, Gui Lepine, Adam Keefe, Chris Frank, & he even got into a fight with NHL toughguy Tom Sestito while Sestito was playing in the UK during the NHL lockout.
Here's what Ryan had to say to https://twitter.com/EIHL_fights
Cheers Ryan for taking the time out to do this interview with EIHLhockeyfights. Your a big fan favorite in Hull and also around the league this year. The UK hockey fans like their tough guys and you have proved to be one of the toughest this season for sure.
RH. Hey, Its my pleasure. I appreciate all the exposure you've given me this season. Its been a very good year for me here in the UK. I really enjoy the hockey, and the league is great. Thanks again for everything. Cheers.
Q1. You Dad has been an entertaining guy to follow on twitter this season. Always telling it as it is. Was he a big part in getting you involved in hockey.?
R.H - 1. My dad has never been scared to express his opinion, and with twitter he is able to say things directly to someone whenever he feels the need. Some would say he's a keyboard warrior, but the difference with him and others is that he will say whatever he writes to your face lol. He was a huge influence when I was younger to start playing, and to keep with it. Always stayed positive, and has been there for guidance when it was needed. He's always been there for me throughout my career, wanting the best for me. Helping me live out my dream to play hockey.
Q2. You started to make a name for yourself as a tough guy in Juniors in Quebec's QMJHL with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, fighting a lot of tough guys in the (Q) . But what was it like jumping from the (Q) straight into the toughest league in the world of hockey the LNAH with Saint-Hyacinthe Top Design at a time when that league was stacked with quality fighters.?
R.H - 2.The QMJHL was a very tough league back in the day. Every team had at least 2 heavies, so I was used to fighting on a regular basis. It made jumping into the LNAH not that difficult for me at that time. To be honest, back then I didn't care who I was fighting. I would just go out there with a confident attitude, and the mindset that I couldn't lose. I was young and had balls to go against anyone. The team loved me because I was a 21 year old kid, who would go anyone in the "Toughest League in the world". I had the respect of the league after my first weekend in the league.
Q3. In your time in the LNAH you were also a team mate of a certain Sean McMorrow who became a fan favorite in the EIHL himself in 09/10 - 10/11 season's, before certain things made him have to head back to North America. What was Sean like as a team mate and what did you make of him as a enforcer.?
R.H - 3.Sean Mcmorrow has to be one of the nicest guys I have played with throughout my career. He was a great teammate to have because he would obviously have your back every night of the week. Back then we had some battles and the Sheriff lead us through them all. He would fight all the top guys in the league 2 times a game, no big deal. A huge man who knew how to used his size to his advantage. I'd take him on my team any day.
Q4. You fought some big names in the LNAH but there's two guys I want to ask you about. What was it like fighting one of the LNAH star fighters Jon Mirasty. You fought him 3 times in 2006/07.?. You also fought one of the toughest guys outside of the NHL at that time Brandon Sugden In the LNAH. What was that like taking on a guy with his reputation. ?
R.H - 4. Jon Mirasty is a machine. I fought him my second game in the LNAH. He had the reputation of being tough as nails, and he lived up to it. Toe to Toe fighter. Always putting on a show. Whenever he would step on the ice, everyone stands up. Brandon Sugden was another tough SOB. He is a very technical fighter, and extremely strong. Had one of the strangest square off stances I've ever faced. Baiting the left arm out, and then coming over with a huge right. That season was huge for me because I fought almost all the top dogs in the LNAH. Didn't win em all, but hey, I was a rookie.
Q5. After the LNAH you then played in the CHL / ECHL /SPHL for a number of teams (7) from 2008 to 2011. Whats it like as a hockey player in North America having to up sticks and move on so often?
R.H - 5. I've definitely been able to travel to alot of places throughout my career. Its been quite the experience. When I've played in the USA I would always have my car with me, so it was pretty simple. Pack the car up and move on. Its never easy going to a new team. Meeting all the guys, coaches and fans halfway through the season is tough. Coming into unfamiliar territory, usually taking someones job, or filling a spot temporarily. I've definitely racked up the miles over the years.
Q6. Ryan you have now played in the LNAH, CHL, ECHL, SPHL leagues. Do you think any EIHL team could compete in any of these leagues over a course of a season, or is the standard of the EIHL lower than those leagues. ?
R.H - 6. To be honest I feel the top teams in this league (Panthers, Giants, Steelers) would be able to compete with the top teams in the ECHL or CHL. Where the lower teams in my opinion would be bottom of the board.
Q7. What did you know about the EIHL before you came over.? Did you hear good or bad things from former team mates back in North America prior to coming to the UK, or did you have to Google EIHL before you took the plunge.?
R.H - 7. Coming to the UK has always been a dream of mine. Since back in the LNAH days I've contemplated coming over here. I have a few friends that have played in the EIHL, and they all spoke highly of the league, and the lifestyle over here.
Q8. What made you come to Hull Ryan. I don't mean to be disrespectful to the Hull Org here as they have a good loyal fan base and good coaches, but they are not one of the more glamorous teams or Cities to play in.?
R.H - 8. In the CHL I had the role of 10th fw. I would barely play. Speaking with Sylvain Cloutier this summer, he told me that I would get a chance to play here. That all the imports need to play, and that I would get the ice time that I've always wanted. Right of the bat I had a great relationship with Clouts, and wanted to come play for him.
Q9. The EIHL this season has seen a fair few number of tough guys in the league, and you have fought most of better fighters at least a few times. Who do you rate in the EIHL as the top guy you have fought this season?
R.H -9. In my opinion I'd say the toughest guy this season is Adam Keefe. Guy works hard, and battles every shift
Q10. What do you think of the standard of our officials?. Or should I ask that question, considering we have a 'Social Media Policy' in place .
R.H - 10. I find that I get some calls because of who I am. I've been thrown out of a few games to avoid me from doing anything. I have never been a cheap shot kind of player my whole career, but still I get treated like it by the officials. Some games I can't do anything, and get called every time I hit anyone. A lot of inconsistency. It really affects the games.
Q11. You found quite a few guys turning down fights with you this season at some point or another like Deeds, Lepine, Campbell and others. Was this frustrating as a tough guy.?
R.H - 11. Its always frustrating when someone turns down a fight. I try and get stuff going on most nights, and its been hard to find a partner. Especially here at home, I try and put on a good show for the fans, and like i said I'm not one to jump someone. Center ice, buckets off. Some guys have the reputation of a fighter, but don't want to dance with the kid.
And just to finish our Q&A Ryan here's a few quick fire questions for you.
Q12. Ryan would you like to return to the EIHL next season.? I know a lot of people would like to see you back.
R.H - 12. Yes, I would like to return for another season.
Q13. Which opposition rink in the EIHL did you enjoy playing in most this season?
R.H - 13. For the atmosphere I'd have to say the Nottingham rink was my fave to play at. But I also liked the small ice surface in Cardiff.
Q14. Who's the toughest guy you have fought in your career.?
R.H - 14. Brandon Sugden
Q15. Whats your most memorable fight?
R.H - 15. Mirasty round 1
Q16. Do you support any other sporting teams?
R.H - 16. Detroit Red Wings
Q17. Whats the best Chirps you have heard, as a player?
R.H - 17. Ling told me a few times to "Go lie down". Like I was a dog. I had to laugh.
Q18. Finally who do you rate as the best fighter currently playing today in any hockey league.?
R.H - 18. I've always been a fan of Chris Neil. Also have to say Brian McGrattan
Again thank you Ryan for taking the time out to do this for the fans. Good luck in the future.
Last edited by OneilltheGiant; 03-17-2013 at 05:24 PM.