Taking Liberties With… Ryan Siroky
Position: Forward, Miami University (NCHC, NCAA Division I)
Hometown: Manhattan Beach
Youth Teams: LA Hockey Club/LA Selects, LA Jr. Kings
California Rubber: What are some of your favorite hockey memories growing up?
Ryan Siroky: The (USA Hockey youth) national championship games with LA Hockey – the double-overtime games we won and lost. Those were pretty big. Going to the Brick when I was really young was a cool experience playing in a mall and having all those people watch you. Quebec (Pee Wee tournament) was another one of the coolest, going to the finals and playing in front of all those people. In juniors, my first USHL game and then going to the Clark Cup final (with Muskegon) during my third year. That was a good experience with a good group of guys. My first college game against Providence when they were coming off the national championship. And my first college goal was against Minnesota Duluth.
CR: You suffered a devastating leg injury when you were a Bantam. What was the key to overcoming that and advancing in the game as you have?
RS: That was tough. My recovery took 10 months. One key was staying positive. My parents helped me out a lot; they were with me every single day. I didn’t know if I was going to play again. I had to learn to do everything again – walk, run, skate. I had a couple of surgeries. All I could do was take it one day at time. It helped me overcome a lot of things. It helped me a lot with hockey.
CR: You’ve been recognized by the NCHC for your academics multiple times. How does a high-level athlete balance hockey with the academic side?
RS: Being a college athlete, you really have to learn time management skills. Being in the business school, you tend to have a lot of homework. You have to find time to prepare for school and for hockey. Learning this is going to help me down the road especially. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. It teaches you how to overcome.
CR: Who were your big hockey influences?
RS: My coaches growing up, Sandy Gasseau and Louis Pacella, were big influences. When I was really young, I looked up to Brett Beebe (a former player at Western Michigan). He’s obviously a couple years older. We followed the same path – same schools growing up, the USHL and college. His family was great along the way.
CR: Did you have a favorite team and/or players growing up?
RS: Obviously, the LA Kings, for sure, and Dustin Brown. I liked to model my game after him. He’s a big power forward who likes to take the body but also can take the puck to the net and score. When I was really young, it was Ziggy Palffy. That’s why I wore No. 33 when I was little. Then the goalies took that. I’ve been No. 24 for a long time. There’s no special reason for 24. I always liked the number.
CR: Are you particular about any of your gear?
RS: No, I’m not. As long as it’s working, it’s fine. I don’t have any superstitions. I tape my stick the same way, that’s about it. If something’s broken I get it fixed or get a new one. You learn what you like and don’t like.
CR: Do you have a favorite meal back in California?
RS: Definitely In-N-Out, by far. I miss really good sushi and Mexican food, too. Those are my favorites.
CR: Do you play other sports?
RS: I like to golf a lot. I’m not the greatest. In the spring and summer, we go a lot. I played a lot of sports growing up. I was competitive in lacrosse. I played a year in high school.
CR: You’re heading for the home stretch of your senior season at Miami. Have you thought about what’s next?
RS: I definitely want to play pro next year. I don’t know where that’s going to be. We’ll have to talk about that at the end of the year. It’s always been a dream of mine. I don’t know how long or how far it will take me.
Photo/Miami University Athletics
— Compiled by Chris Bayee
(March 14, 2019)