Practice to Pro, W. “Ryan” Conroy

by web2-admin on Apr 02, 2024

My son Ryan played his first professional hockey game last Friday March 28, 2024 for the Adirondack Thunder in Glenn Falls New York, ironically my younger brother also player for Adirondack but back then they were in a different league.

Ryan is a powerful, intelligent, hard hitting, 5‘ 8 D man.  (the program says 5’ 9 😊)

I thought I would give a little background to you on Ryans “Path to Pro”.

NOTE: We did not spend allot of money on his training, he only played Minor Hockey, very little Spring, then to the AJHL at age 16, then the USHL and Yale and now Adirondack.

We started skating early, his second birthday but no one can call that skating. 😊 Nothing but ODRs until age 4.  He started a summer camp at 4 and then I created Conroy Hockey when he was 5, I created CH for him to give him additional skill-based development.  

Additionally, we had a net in the back yard and I built an ODR for my sons a few winters.  Thank fully I stopped being a Bad Dad when he was 6.  Please learn from my mistakes.  Bad Dads don’t make successful kids.  I know of 2 dead Bad Dads already I am sure there are more.

Note that Ryan has a younger brother who is now 6 ft tall and was just as good as Ryan at age 6 then his Mother made sure he did not spend a lot of time at CH or with his dad.  This is where the similarities end to be blunt.  The younger brother had all of the same opportunities.

Other than training with me for 13 years he also attended 3, 2 day D camps ( I completely disagreed with most of what they taught and it took weeks to retrain him after wards), his Mother insisted)

He did play in the school program which is mostly terrible instruction  but hey its better than school, sort of)

He did a “power skating” camp with an ex pro player (not an ex figure skater) some morning for parts of 2 winters and when he was 15 & 16 I sent him to another fellow to work on his weight training.  Note the on-ice training with this group was less than stellar, lots of standing around and we did not continue after 2 years despite the fact the trainer was an ex-pro and had lots of high-end kids.

At age 13 he decided to get much stronger than his peers and boy did he, exercise was a big part of what we did.  It cost nothing but time.  We had a set of dumbbells only there were no gyms.  Calisthenics and isometrics and hills lots of hills and bike riding and roller blading.  I worked out with him.

At age 14 he started training with a Martial Arts group (his mother objected to this and lots of what I did) and we had 3 summers of that building skills, fitness, toughness and fighting skills and confidence in himself.

In his rookie AJHL season (age 16) he fought all that wanted to fight and all were 18 & 19 years old. At age 18 he was the team captain (leadership, maturity, toughness and commitment)  I am pretty sure he was the youngest captain in the league and then was the Captain of the All star team that went to Russia.

90% of his training was simply Conroy Hockey camps and he got lots of off-ice inputs from me.  His uncle was not a part of our lives.

I was a tough love, father and repeatedly educated him on being a tougher and more capable kid and I ensured he was a well mannered and good student and he is.  His uncle Al had set that stage decades ago.  School was important as were manners and common sense.  He was not a privileged and entitled kid.

For Ryan there were no fancy camps, no expensive schools, and only a little outside training.  He is not a big kid, but he is strong and committed to his success.

Why he succeeded is simple, Ryan chose and wanted to and Ryan had developed confidence and skills and he WORKED HARD and listened and he was TOUGH in every way possible.  

He earned it by focusing on it and committing to it and he was TOUGH.  Super tough confident and fearless.  For the last 5 years that I trained him he was the best kid on the ice and he pushed himself.

His goal from age 11 was the AJHL then NCAA div 1 and he achieved it, going pro is icing on an already big cake.  Who knows where the future lies.  He was able to attend the 9th best university on the Planet, the world is his Oyster.

He faced some rejections along the way; he was not drafted in the Bantam Draft, he was not drafted to the NHL (this also applies to my brother), he was overlooked due to his size by stupid people.  And he broke his back playing hockey when he was 11 missing 10 weeks.

Additionally, I failed to develop his offensive capabilities as must as I should of but I have since learned how to do that better.  Ryan is not a scoring D man; he is the guy you put out when you do not want to be scored on.

Since I began to train Ryan, my coaching skills have increased measurably in his day CH was a hobby, now its what I do for a living.  I wish I knew then what I know now.  He would have been even better.

Most of the kids I now teach have physical and economic advantages over Ryan.  Most of your kids could be as capable as Ryan you don’t need to spend a fortune, don’t need special 50,000 + year schools, don’t need 4 skills coaches.  You need a good Coach who knows and who cares and a committed kid.  And Parents need to show tough love in my opinion.

He did play a little spring but stopped at age 7 and then continued with CH camps.  He did play tournaments until age 10 because teams begged (literally and they paid for him to play).  He did not play 3 on 3, or 4 on 4 as they add very little actual value.

He played baseball, volleyball, he enjoyed the physicality of lacrosse and flag football.  We camped hiked and exercised when ever we could.   This is why CH never skates on long weekends.

Ryan missed some pool time at tourneys for naps, he missed some digital play time for exercise and being outdoors, Ryan had to do push-ups and sit-ups before digital play time.  Yes there was some whining, but no regrets here!

Everything I did for Ryan I try to do for my clients via communications and the on-ice work.  

I have literally been learning since 2006 just like Ryan.  If your players wants to be better then I sincerely think I can provide this.  Be happy you get the smart coach 😊 Ryan mostly got the tough coach.  Toughness matters so so so so so so so much!

Of course, not everyone will go this far but along the way there are a lot of great lessons will be learned, fun to be had, friendships made and life skills developed by just playing this great game and with some commitment to success on behalf of your Player and you.

Thank you for choosing Conroy Hockey I look forward to leading your kids, this old, much smarter coach now, always will try his best.

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