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Former NHL player Bobby Ryan arrested at airport for public intoxication

·2-min read
Bobby Ryan, the 2020 Masterton Trophy winner who overcome substance abuse issues while in the NHL, was arrested for public intoxication on Monday. (Getty)
Bobby Ryan, the 2020 Masterton Trophy winner who overcome substance abuse issues while in the NHL, was arrested for public intoxication on Monday. (Getty)

Former NHL player Bobby Ryan was arrested Monday at Nashville International Airport and charged with public intoxication.

According to, which obtained the arrest warrant, Ryan was caught taking several items from a store inside the airport without paying for them. Once airport police were notified, they began a search for Ryan and eventually found him sitting in an airport bar, purportedly waiting for a drink he had just ordered after abandoning the stolen items on an airport counter.

Ryan was extremely intoxicated and non-compliant with the arresting officers, according to the police report. The 35-year-old couldn’t tell officers the date, time of day, or even where he was while struggling to stand on his own feet while interacting with the officers.

The airport store he allegedly shoplifted from chose not to press charges. Ryan was still taken into custody for public intoxication. Following the standard eight-hour public intoxication hold, police eventually released Ryan and dropped all charges.

An "embarrassed" Ryan reach out to fans via Twitter on Wednesday, thanking everyone for their support while acknowledging the setback on his road to sobriety.

Ryan, who played over 860 games in the NHL — mostly with the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators — dealt with substance abuse issues for a good chunk of his playing career.

It finally came to a head in November of 2019, when Ryan opted to enter the NHL/NHLPA joint player assistance program for help with alcohol abuse. He was away from the Senators for several months.

Ryan made a triumphant return to the ice on Feb. 25, 2020. It was in his first home game back, however, that Ryan made his mark — scoring a hat trick in a 5-2 win over the Canucks. Ryan fought back tears on the bench while the Ottawa crowd chanted his name.

In September 2020, Ryan was awarded the Masterton Trophy as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He offered some perspective on his journey after winning the award.

“Getting help and learning and becoming better in all aspects of my life is certainly better than the alternative and the way that I was headed,” Ryan told

“The things that I’ve learned about myself, the secondary life, the new life I’ve built. It means more to me than chasing the Cup.”

He last played in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings for 33 games during the 2020-21 season.

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