Taking Liberties With… Ryan Massa
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Position: Goaltender, Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL)
Last Amateur Team: University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCHC)
Youth Teams: Littleton Hawks, Colorado Thunderbirds, Colorado Rampage
Littleton native Ryan Massa, who recently re-upped with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears for the 2016-17 season, is also carving out a niche as a goaltending coach in Omaha, Neb., where the youth hockey scene is growing.
Massa helped the University of Nebraska-Omaha reach the Frozen Four in 2015.
“It’s a small business right now, but I’m working to grow it in years to come,” Massa said. “There’s such a need for quality goaltending instruction. I saw a good opportunity to get involved and UNO has been very supportive.”
More information is at www.MassaGoaltending.com.
Colorado Rubber: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Ryan Massa: Probably winning a double-overtime game with the Rampage at states against the Pikes Peak Miners in 2007-08.
CR: What is your favorite memory in the game since leaving Colorado?
RM: Playing in the Frozen Four in my senior year (2014-15) was pretty special as far as a collegiate experience. That’s the crown jewel of college hockey. Getting an opportunity to play professionally in both the East Coast League and the American League (with the Toronto Marlies) was a pretty big milestone to date. I’m continuing to stick to the process.
CR: What advice would you give young hockey players?
RM: Go out there and have fun. If you can’t have fun, there is no point in doing it. Don’t get caught up in statistics. Get better each day and the process will take care of itself.
CR: Who has been the biggest influence on you on and off the ice?
RM: I’d have to say my family. All those years of the early mornings, the late nights and the extensive travel schedule, all the hours spent at the rinks. All that stuff goes unnoticed. That certainly wouldn’t happen without the support of my parents (Mark and Tami) and my younger sister Gianna (who also attends UNO), who was dragged to a lot of practices and games.
CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
RM: Fishing and golf.
CR: What is your game-day routine like?
RM: It’s changed every year, but I keep it fairly simple. A morning skate, followed by the usual off-ice routines. I eat a big pre-game meal – pasta, chicken and bread – then take a nice nap. I head to the rink three hours early.
CR: Are there are any pieces of gear you’re particular about?
RM: Pretty much everything. At this point, I’m pretty picky about how certain pieces of equipment feel. I like to feel comfortable. I always get my skates sharpened and re-tape a new stick.
CR: What are essential items to take on a road trip?
RM: The computer or iPad for sure. Good pair of headphones or two. Some juice packs, with extra battery life in them. The memory foam neck pillow is important.
CR: When you’re back in Colorado, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant?
RM: I love my mom’s cooking. You name it – everything and anything that’s homemade is great. For breakfast, it would be French toast, lunch at Panini and dinner is tough – probably chicken enchiladas. I also like getting some authentic Mexican food downtown. Usually the few times while I’m back, I’ll go to Jabo’s Bar-Be-Q.
CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
RM: I’d say it’s pretty obvious growing up in the early 90s era – Patrick Roy. I played with his sons, Fred and Jon, and got to know them over those several years he was here playing for the Avalanche. It was fun learning the position at a young age, and he would come out on the ice and work with me. It was pretty special getting to learn from a Hall of Famer. A lot of fun and something I’m extremely thankful for.
CR: If you weren’t playing pro hockey, what do you think you’d be doing?
RM: If I didn’t have to worry about money, I’d be a fisherman, traveling to all the oceans across the world. If I have to worry about putting food on the table, I’d choose something in the finance business.
CR: What is the most challenging aspect of playing pro hockey?
RM: Just the sheer talent at the next level. It’s no longer just your age group and the United States. It’s everyone in the world. It’s a lot harder to make it to the NHL and just be successful at the pro level. If you’re willing to put the time in, it is attainable.
Photo/Orlando Solar Bears
– Compiled by Chris Bayee