While most NHL players are spending their off-season on the links, Panthers blue liner Mike Van Ryn’s off-season plans have taken him from the clear blue waters of the Bahamas to the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip, all while undergoing a pair of wrist surgeries and tending after his new, four-plus acre home in Southwest Ranches.
After the conclusion of the Florida Panthers season in April, Mike and his wife Amber traveled to the Bahamas, where they spent a few days relaxing in the sun.
“It was a tough year for me, especially with my chronic wrist pain, so it was nice to get a little time to get away from the rink,” Van Ryn says. “Also, with my hectic travel schedule during the season it is tough for us try to do things together. This trip gave us the opportunity to get away with one another and spend some time together.”
Once Van Ryn returned to South Florida he underwent surgery on his left wrist, the same day Panthers team captain Olli Jokinen had the same procedure performed.
“Yep, it was pretty weird, Olli and I got to the office at the same time and we both were prepped in the same room before the surgery,” he says. “Then they took him in and once he was done with the surgery they started the procedure on me. I figured by letting him go first if he didn’t come out okay, then I could get the heck out of there,” he says with a laugh. “Actually the doctor was great and the surgery went very smooth and we’re both doing very well with our rehabilitation.”
About a month later, Van Ryn also underwent surgery on his right wrist. After the procedure he would be left with both his arms in casts up to his elbow. These casts would slow most people down, but not Van Ryn, who continues to workout in the morning at his new home and will begin workouts in June with team chiropractor Dr. Nick Ruggiero at his off-site gym location in Coral Springs.
“My arms are in a cast, but my legs still work fine,” he says. “I can ride the bike, do some stretching exercises, as well as some light weight workouts.”
Van Ryn, who turned 28 on May 14, had a special surprise for his wife Amber who celebrated her birthday two days after him. He purchased two tickets to fly to Las Vegas to see the Country Music Awards and attend an exclusive VIP after party hosted by CMA artist Tracy Lawrence.
“Amber is a huge country music fan, so I figured that I would surprise her with the trip for her birthday,” Van Ryn says. “It was a last minute idea that turned out to be a lot of fun.”
While they were in Vegas for just under 72 hours, Mike and Amber still managed to have a good time on very little sleep.
“The country music awards were great,” Amber says. “I love Carrie Underwood and she performed live so it was awesome to be able to be in attendance. The after party was unbelievable too. We got a chance to listen to a few of the country musicians perform in a laid back and relaxed atmosphere.”