Feb. 17, 2010
By Lauren Chval
Sports Information Student Assistant
Left wing Ryan Thang leads this year’s hockey team as both captain and a senior. He says he leads his team by example, both in the weight room and on the ice, and his team definitely has plenty to look up to.
It has been Thang’s dream since high school to play professional hockey, and at the end of this year his dream will become a reality as he joins the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, who drafted him when he was just a freshman at Notre Dame.
“It’s crazy that I’m a senior already; it’s gone by way too fast, but to be named captain is a great honor and something I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Thang says. “The thing I love most is just playing the game with some of my best friends, but besides that I love to score goals. The feeling you get from scoring a goal at home in the Joyce Center is great.”
This season, Thang already has brought the fans at the Joyce Center to their feet with eight goals and nine assists.
Thang was playing competitive hockey long before he was a part of the Fighting Irish. He was drafted to play two years of junior hockey in the United States Hockey League (USHL) after signing a national letter of intent to attend Notre Dame during his sophomore year of high school.
“It served as a great stepping stone for me in my pursuit to play college hockey,” Thang says. “You play a lot more games in comparison to the college game so it’s a great developmental league.”
On the ice, Thang says that his best memories of the team are winning the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Tournament championship and the Irish’s overtime victory against Michigan that put them in the national championship game in 2008. But even more memorable are the times he has shared with his team when they were not playing.
“Freshman year we were in the airport in Boston on our first road trip as a team,” he says. “The flight was delayed so one of the seniors took out a dollar and attached some clear fishing line and we set up that dollar in the middle of the airport and tricked probably a hundred people into trying to bend over and pick the dollar up only to have us pull it away in laughter. We spent hours doing that and now it’s a tradition for every airport road trip.”
Though Thang has much to look forward to as he embarks on his last semester studying finance at Notre Dame with a spot in the NHL, he says he will miss the late nights and easy times spent with his friends.
“I’ll cherish most the random nights of playing video games with my roommates, Halo with Vern, and just going out with the boys after a big win,” Thang says.
He looks forward to his dream next year with excitement and anticipation, but Thang won’t soon forget playing for the Fighting Irish. During his time here, he says the University has felt like a family to him and showed incredible support for the hockey team.
“I hope I leave the team with a great set of standards to uphold on and off the ice to ensure the continued success of the Notre Dame hockey program.”
— ND —