Yar­mouth’s Ryan Graves makes his NHL de­but


It was the call Ryan Graves of Yar­mouth had been wait­ing years for, but had dreamed about for most of his life.

And had worked hard to achieve. Graves, 23, made his NHL de­but on Dec. 27 wear­ing #27 for the Colorado Avalanche in a league game ver­sus the Ve­gas Golden Knights – an op­pos­ing team that didn’t even ex­ist when Graves was drafted in the fourth round by the New York Rangers in 2013.

In a post-game in­ter­view with re­porters, Graves was asked what it was like to be called up from the Avalanche’s af­fil­i­ate Colorado Ea­gles to play in his first of­fi­cial NHL game.

“It was pretty sur­real,” he said. “I was pretty ex­cited. I’ve been wait­ing for that call for a few years now.”

Graves was ac­quired by the Avalanche fran­chise in a trade dur­ing the 2017-18 sea­son. He had done pre-sea­son NHL ex­hi­bi­tion play with the Rangers, and also with the Avalanche (scor­ing a pre-sea­son goal with both teams) but had never got­ten the chance to suit up for an of­fi­cial game.

Asked last sum­mer – as he pre­pared for the hockey sea­son ahead – if he was dis­cour­aged he hadn’t yet got­ten to prove him­self on an NHL ros­ter, Graves had said, “ba­si­cally you can’t look back, you just have to look for­ward and I’m hop­ing I get an op­por­tu­nity in Colorado. And if and when I get that op­por­tu­nity I’ll make the best of it.”

Which is what he did on Dec. 27. The 6-foot-5, 225-lb de­fence­man had two shots on net, as well as a hit and a block, dur­ing his 8:26 of ice time in the game in which the Knights edged the Avalanche 2-1. He told re­porters af­ter­wards he was happy with his per­for­mance.

In the stands watch­ing his first NHL game on Dec. 27 were his fa­ther Ron Graves, mother Mon­ica Bren­nan and Ryan’s girl­friend Clare Casey, who had all boarded three sep­a­rate flights on short no­tice to be there to watch his de­but in per­son. Mon­ica had landed in Hal­i­fax af­ter spend­ing Christ­mas with Ryan in Colorado when she found out he had been re­called by the Avalanche and would be play­ing his first NHL game.

In Las Ve­gas Bren­nan didn’t get a chance to talk with her son prior to the game and she also only found af­ter land­ing in Las Ve­gas that he got­ten a gash to his arm dur­ing the morn­ing skate. But he was de­ter­mined to play. He told re­porters the doc­tors had stitched him up that af­ter­noon.

“He played a great game,” his mother said. “We are very, very happy for him.”

Ryan’s dad Ron also used the word ‘sur­real’ to de­scribe the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“You just wanted him to do well and not make any mis­takes and just play to the best of his abil­i­ties, which he did,” he said.

“He looked like he blended into the team very, very well.”

Ryan told re­porters he did have pre-game jit­ters, but said in his post-game in­ter­view that his coaches and the Avalanche play­ers had told him to just go out, keep it sim­ple and play his game, which he did.


Ryan Graves made his NHL de­but on Dec. 27 with the Colorado Avalanche. He is pic­tured pro­vid­ing post-game in­ter­views.

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