Joakim Ryan felt right at home when he played his first road game in the National Hockey League.
With approximately 50 friends and family members in attendance, Ryan, a native of Rumson, N.J., donned the San Jose Sharks’ away sweater for the first time on Oct. 20 at Prudential Center, where he watched many New Jersey Devils games as a kid despite being a diehard New York Rangers fan.
"It was really exciting to be home in New Jersey," the left-shooting defense-man said. "It was a lot of fun."
The game was Ryan’s fourth in the NHL, and the 24-year-old was again slotted alongside Brent Burns in place of the injured Paul Martin.
Ryan, 5-feet-11, 185 pounds, said "pure excitement" was the only way to describe his emotions when he was told the previous week that he was being promoted from the American Hockey League’s San Jose Barracuda and would be playing next to Burns.