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Dreams Come True

Ryan Malone on the Olympics, Bolts and Family
By Ronda M. Parag

Ryan Malone
Hockey is in the blood of Tampa Bay Lightning Left Wing Ryan Malone. As the son of former Pittsburgh Penguin professional hockey player, Greg Malone, Ryan, 31, has been around the locker room since he was a little kid. He feels lucky of the family experience. “When I made the team in Pittsburgh my rookie year, I had the same trainer that had been sharpening my skates since I was a little kid,” said Malone. “It was pretty cool, he got to see me grow up all the way through. It was like a big family there.”

Malone wears number 12 as a tribute to his father, a current Tampa Bay Lightning scout, who also had the nickname Bugsy. Growing up Ryan was Little Bugsy, now just Bugsy after the original Bugsy Malone. Dedicated to his sport and willing to make sacrifices, Malone is reminded of his father’s advice —“If it were easy, everybody would do it.” During summers growing up, Malone would attend hockey camp training instead of vacations with his friends.
“Hockey is something I love to do and you have to do it if you want your dream bad enough,” said Malone. He started taking hockey seriously at age 15 and attended numerous camps over the summer.

Malone is married to wife Abby, and they have one son, William Ryan and another son due in April. When asked if he wants his sons to play hockey, Malone said, “It’s whatever they want to do. My dad never forced me to play hockey, but you know, I always played different sports growing up and I think he wanted to keep me out of trouble. The main thing is I just want them to be good people and to respect everyone. That’s all you can ask for.

Signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2008 off-season, Malone says his selection to be a member of the 2010 U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team is a dream come true. Off the ice, Metro had a chance to find out more about this Pittsburgh native who now happily calls the Tampa Bay area home.

Tampa Bay Metro: When you signed a long-term deal, what was the draw?

Ryan Malone: Well, I think the main thing for me was having Vinny, Marty, and Stamkos coming in. In Pittsburgh, I went through the tough times with them and then got to see some of the better days and ended up leaving, so I wanted to make sure I was here long enough to enjoy those glory days. Hopefully they’re coming in the near future.

TBM: Any pre-game rituals?

RM: I always play soccer with some of the guys around the locker room and I always take a shower before I put my pads on. It kind of relaxes you and gets your head ready for the game.

TBM: Describe a typical day off.

RM: Golf. I love golfing, especially with some of the guys. Vinny (Lecavalier), Stammer (Steven Stamkos), and Smitty (Mike Smith) usually go. We have a good time.

TBM: Favorite local courses?

RM: We usually play at Avila. Everything about it is nice, from the pretty layout and the neighborhood to how challenging the course is. We always joke about how bad of a neighborhood it is though. The ghetto we call it (laughs).

TBM: Has fatherhood affected your life?

RM: It’s been a tremendous turnaround. Now, with the days off I just kind of want to lay around at home and play with our son. We’ve been building little forts out of the couches and cushions lately. I guess I’m a little grown up, even though my wife says I’m never going to grow up! We’re excited to have another boy coming.

TBM: Any involvement in local charities?

RM: Last year, I did some stuff with the Ronald McDonald House and I met some people at Operation Homefront. I’m very happy to support them and what they do is great. If a house has a hole in the roof or something, Operation Homefront will fix the house so loved ones over there at war don’t have to worry about it while they’re fighting for us.

TBM: What are your favorite dining spots?

RM: Roy’s, the Butterfish is unbelievable, absolutely mouthwatering. Flemings too. They take good care of us there and have a great steak. My wife loves the crab legs. Bern’s for dinner then going upstairs to the dessert room. I think that is pretty romantic.

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