Bobby Ryan fights back tears on the bench after recording a hat trick in his return to Ottawa
(Screenshot/ Sportsnet).

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Bobby Ryan scored a hat trick against the Canucks on Thursday evening at Canadian Tire Centre in his first game back in Ottawa after entering the NHL Players Assistance program for substance abuse. Earlier this week, Ryan opened up to reporters about his struggle with alcohol abuse and his road to recovery.

“I am doing very, very well,” Ryan said. “It’s been trying at times, but everybody’s been very supportive and my recovery has been a process and a learning thing for me for sure, but I’ve come a long way and just continuing to get a little bit better with it each day.”

Ryan made his return to lineup against Nashville on Tuesday, February 25th, exactly 100 days after hitting sobriety. He was credited with four shots on goal and two hits in a 3-2 loss. While he didn’t get on the scoresheet against the Predators, he made a major impact just two days later in his return home.

Ryan scored a hat trick against the Canucks on Thursday to lead his team to a 5-2 victory at Canadian Tire Centre. Vancouver is battling for playoff position in the Western Conference and badly needed two points against one of the worst defensive teams in the NHL.

Ryan scored his first goal of the game in the opening period after re-directing a pass from Nikita Zaitsev pass past goaltender Thatcher Demko. Ryan then received an ovation from the fans after the goal as the first “Bobby!” chants of the night broke out.

After scoring his third goal of the game on an empty net late in the third period, Ryan was serenaded with even more “Bobby!” chants and he received a massive ovations from both the fans and players. A visibly emotional Ryan can be seen fighting back tears on the bench. You can watch the video below.

Ryan acknowledged the support from the crowd in an awesome post-game interview.

“I knew the community that Ottawa is, the reception would be good”, Ryan told reporters following the game. “It just got harder to keep the emotions down throughout the game. It was incredible. They supported me. To contribute, you can’t write that, right? The way it went.”

You can watch Ryan’s full-post game interview below.

There are many people out there struggling with addiction, and Ryan’s incredible story is a reminder to never give up the fight.