For one hockey fan, it was worth missing the rest of the season.
In their quest for Stanley Cup glory, the Colorado Avalanche will be returning to Denver to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. One fan who is passionate will not attend, however, this is because his best friend was unable to go. Ryan Clark was banned from any Finals games, but he is completely at peace with this decision.
Ryan Stark, his best friend, died suddenly in December. They were longtime friends and Kyle was Ryan’s Best Man when he married. Ryan and Kyle were avid Avalanche fans who attended Avalanche games together. Ryan felt the need to pay tribute to his hockey partner, as he was enjoying a tremendous season.
In a gesture to remember their friend, Kyle’s parents invited Ryan and his family to the Ball Arena for a game. Ryan jumped at the opportunity and asked his friend’s family if they would be willing to take some of Kyles’s ashes with them to the stadium. It was a chance for the two friends to attend one last game together. Ryan then decided to make the occasion permanent.
Kyle wouldn’t be leaving the rink on that night. His friend saw the opportunity and managed to place Kyle on the playing surface. “We had him in a little baggie. “We got Kyle over the glass and onto the ice,” Kyle said. After watching the games on the rink for years, Kyle became part of the sheet. Ryan couldn’t think of a better way to honor his friend than this.
His gesture was not received warmly by the team authorities. After seeing Ryan’s actions, an Avs fan approached Ryan and asked him questions about his past. Ryan explained that it was his best friend, who was now on the ice. Ryan was then taken out of the arena and informed by the team that he would no longer be allowed to attend any Avalanche games during the rest of the season.
It is a minor affront to the memories he has made, but it is not as bad as missing out on his favorite team’s championship run. Ryan has not allowed regrets to enter his mind about the matter. “I would do it over with the biggest smile on my face, just like the last time. “I know that’s where he wants to be.”