Whether it was reporting rink-side, or ring-side, legendary sports broadcaster Tim Ryan always had a front row seat.
“I wanted to be where the action was,” said the Winnipeg native who retired in Victoria.
For over fifty years, Ryan was a key voice in telling some of the sports world’s biggest stories.
“I started in hockey, that gave me my chance to come to the United States,” said Ryan. His first big break came in the late 1960s as the voice and public relations manager of the now-defunct Oakland Seals hockey team. Since then, he’s covered countless events from US Open Tennis to the Olympic Games.
“Seven continents and 20 some-odd countries,” Ryan said.
He’s worked alongside iconic figures including John Madden, Terry Bradshaw, Sugar Ray Leonard and NHL Great Ted Lindsay. While covering the New York Islanders dynasty in the 1980s, he even received two Stanley Cup rings.
“The best three years were fairly early in my career when I was doing the NHL Game of the Week on NBC Sports and I worked with Brian McFarlane and Ted Lindsay,” said Ryan, who called the late Lindsay a mentor and good friend. “Ted Lindsay was not just a great hockey player and a really good hockey commentator on NBC for us, but was one of the best human beings we’ve ever met, he really made an impact on all of us.”
In retirement, the 82-year-old decided to tell one final story — his own — in a book titled On Someone Else’s Nickel: A Life in Television, Sports, and Travel.
“It speaks more to what my career was in terms of not just covering events all over the world, but the opportunity to travel the world on someone else’s nickel,” said Ryan. “People I met, adventures we had, a lot of laughs, tears.”
He says the book gives readers a look at a broadcaster’s life behind the scenes, working with and covering some of sports’ biggest names. But ultimately, it’s about one man’s adventure that goes well beyond the field of play.
“It’s for sports fans and it’s for people who are curious about other parts of the world that they’ve never been to because much of the book is about where I got to go and experiences I had,” he said.
And when asked for career advice, Ryan says to be yourself, take risks and keep chasing your dreams.