Tom Ryan has been associated with the Boston University men's ice hockey program for over a quarter-century.
A highly recruited two-sport athlete out of Newton North High School, Ryan earned all-scholastic recognition in leading the Tigers to the top of the Suburban League in hockey and lacrosse.
He arrived on campus as a freshman in 1984 -- the first year of the Hockey East Association -- and immediately assumed a regular shift as a member of the BU defense. As a sophomore paired with his roommate, All-Hockey East performer David Quinn, he helped the Terriers vanquish rival Boston College for both the Beanpot and Hockey East titles in 1986.
The graduation of a large group of seniors in 1987 that included all-time leading scorer John Cullen along with the early departure of 1988 Olympians Scott Young and Clark Donatelli would have made the task of the 1987-88 Terrier captains difficult enough -- then suddenly captains became singular, at least on the ice.
Ryan's roommate, close friend and fellow co-captain elect Quinn was diagnosed with a rare blood disease during the summer of 1987, preventing him from maintaining a playing role. Ryan thus became the de facto captain and rallied a very callow group of Terrier pups to a strong second-half and third-place finish in Hockey East.
At the 21st annual Friends of Hockey Banquet, Ryan was fittingly the most honored Terrier. Seeing action at both forward and defense during his final season, Ryan became the first BU player to win outright both the George V Brown Most Valuable Player and Bennett McInnis Memorial Spirit Award for his estimable efforts.
A seventh-round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ryan went to work in the family business, the James A. Ryan Insurance Agency in West Newton, where he remains today.
After graduation he also embarked on a coaching career at the high-school level as an assistant to the late Garrett Regan, a Massachusetts Hockey Hall Of Fame member in recognition of his accomplishments as head coach at Hingham High School. Ryan then assisted former Terrier All-American center Steve Stirling at Babson College before returning to the Terrier program as its radio color commentator, alongside play-by-play broadcaster Bernie Corbett, starting with the 1992-93 season.
Ryan returned to the bench in 2008-09 as head coach at his high-school alma mater, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. He resides in the West Newton house he grew up in with his lovely wife, Jill, and their sons, TJ and Brendan.