ABOUT RYAN'S RINK RATS
Ryan's Rink Rats Foundation was started in memory of my late son, Ryan Briese, who died unexpectedly at the age of 34 on July 19th, 2017. He had not only a passion for the game of hockey but a passion for people and a caring heart to help others. We want to carry on his legacy, making hockey happen one rink rat at a time.
Ryan laid the foundation of Ryan’s Rink Rats as a fifth grader. I will never forget the day he came home from school to tell me about his new friend. Normally, Ryan would always go the bathroom after school, get his snack and go play video games. This day was different. He could not wait to tell me about his new friend he made. Ryan said, "Mom, he is a really good hockey player but plays for the Bloomington Athletic Association (BAA). He is too good for BAA! He needs to play with me on a Jefferson team but I don’t think they can afford it."
For those of you who don’t know, BAA is not as competitive as the Jefferson program. The Jefferson program produces players like Zach Parise, Tommy Gilbert and Ryan Briese. He asked if there is anyway I could help. I told him I would check on any assistance available. There was not a day that went by that he did not ask me the same question. That same determination helped him on and off the ice. About a week later, I was able to find out some information that would help this family. I met his new friend and his mother. I gave his mother information on who to call for possible scholarship funds that may be available for them. It was a blessing, his friend was able to play for Jefferson. His new friend was a force to be reckoned with for the next 9 years. If not for these funds, Ryan would not have developed a life long friend. His friend played for the program for the next 9 years and continued his hockey career at the college level. Hockey is not only a sport but it teaches kids so many valuable lessons including sportsmanship, time management, working hard towards a common goal, dedication, camaraderie and the list goes on and on. Ryan's Rink Rats would like to take away the financial barriers so all can have access to this wonderful sport of hockey.
On several occasions Ryan gave his equipment away to families that could not afford equipment and wanted to start playing hockey. He came home from school and asked if it was okay, I told him, "of course, have their parents call me and we can make arrangements for them to come over and pick it up." Ryan said, "they are coming tonight!!" I loved that about Ryan, his determination and dedication to help others was something that made me so proud. Ryan continued to help others outside of hockey. Hockey just laid the foundation.