BY JAMIE UMBACH
It's a rare occurrence finding Ryan Strome indoors during the summer months at his home in Mississauga, Ontario, but you wouldn't be hard-pressed finding him nearby.
His schedule, contrary to popular opinion surrounding NHL players and the off-season, is packed enough as is training for the new season and making up for lost time with his brothers and extended family that now includes his fiancée Sydney.
"We're actually a lot busier with training and family commitments than during the season," the Oilers centre said. "I train with a bunch of ex-Oilers like Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall, and also John Tavares and Jeff Skinner. We got a good group. It's pretty close to here and we skate and work out together. We kind of keep our group small, stay under the radar a little bit and do our thing.
"Then we're over at her parents' place for dinner at least twice a week, and Sunday nights are usually for Strome family dinners."
Luckily for them and Ryan's parents Trish and Chris, they're never far away during the summer in their own small pocket of Mississauga near the shores of Lake Ontario after putting down roots no more than five minutes from both their childhood homes.
On the same streets and in the same arenas he and his brothers Dylan and Matthew grew up skating in as members of the Toronto Marlboros, Ryan puts the finishing touches on preparing to depart for his sixth NHL season and second as an Edmonton Oiler.
Our scheduled rival at their home on a Sunday afternoon in August is already a deviation from the regular routine of the self-proclaimed homebodies who like keeping it contained within their own sphere of friends and family. That's usually enough work in itself.
"It can be a lot to handle," said Sydney, whose family lived close to the Strome's before she met Ryan four years ago and became engaged earlier this summer. "We both love our families and friends a lot, spending as much time as we can with them."