Locked out NHL player Ryan O’Byrne to join Victoria Grizzlies coaching staff

Ryan O'Byrne, Colorado Avalanche defenceman, has returned to his native Victoria to coach the Jr. A Grizzlies

NHL player Ryan O’Byrne joins Victoria Grizzlies head coach and general manager Bill Bestwick on the ice during practice at Bear Mountain Arena

When one door closes (temporarily), another opens.

Ryan O’Byrne, Colorado Avalanche defenseman has returned to his native Victoria and will spend his time during the NHL lockout as an assistant coach on the Victoria Grizzlies.

Head coach and general manager Bill Bestwick introduced O’Byrne as the team’s newest member on Wednesday.

“O’Byrne is a great role model for our community,” Bestwick said. “He will inspire these guys.”

The deal was made possible due to a quibble between the NHL owners and NHL Players Association, of which O,Byrne is the team rep for Colorado.

In 2003, O’Byrne was traded from the Salsa (Grizzlies) to the Nanaimo Clippers, where he played briefly for Bestwick before attending Cornell (NCAA). O’Byrne will not be paid by the Grizz, rather, the team will donate money to the Ryan O’Byrne Youth Sports Society.

“Obviously the lockout is unfortunate, but this lets me give back to the community,” O’Byrne said.

The Grizz are on a three-game road trip through Surrey, Chilliwack and Coquitlam this weekend.

sports@vicnews.com