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Ex-NHLer Bobby Ryan wages online war against women’s sports

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While many sports fans were tuning in to watch a thrilling game of women’s college basketball featuring scoring sensation Caitlin Clark, former NHLer Bobby Ryan was busy getting lit up online over his controversial takes about women’s sports.

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Ryan, who played 14 seasons in the NHL before retiring in 2021, began his flame war by replying to a post on X (formerly Twitter) by Stathletes cofounder Meghan Chayka.

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Chayka posted “Why does it seem like everyone is watching women’s basketball?? Oh because EVERYONE is watching,” while Clark and her Iowa Hawkeyes defeated LSU to reach the Final Four.

Ryan wasn’t having any of that, replying with a challenge to Chayka.

“Name 7 players. Not 1. Not 2…5-7. First and last names…go for it,” he wrote.

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That was enough to get the Twitterverse fired up, with the post receiving 2.2 million views and more than 550 reposts.

Ryan didn’t stop there, either.

In a follow-up post on Tuesday which has since been deleted, Ryan posted “Guys…holy hell. Relax!!!

“It’s 843 and I want to go home and pretend like women’s sports are a thing.”

That, of course, only drew more online furor.

“Bro ur just embarrassing yourself at this point, cur your loss and live your life,” one commenter replied.

Another wrote: “Get the help you need, Bobby.”

NHL reporter Chris Johnston tweeted a screenshot of the deleted post, saying “Hey @Bobbyry5409, buzz off with this nonsense.”

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Ryan replied to Johnston several times, mostly with nonsense, before claiming the reporter has a conflict of interest, referencing his involvement with the PWHL.

“Hey Chris Johnson I’m sorry this got a little further than you thought…while we use the word ‘nonsense’ are we just going to skip over your conflict of interest? Or we gonna skip over it?” Ryan posted.

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For what it’s worth, the PWHL has been setting all kinds of attendance records in its inaugural season.

Even those close to Ryan have since began to distance themselves after his online outburst. Brent Wallace, who co-hosts the Coming in Hot podcast with Ryan and fellow ex-NHLer Jason York denounced Ryan’s posts.

“I do not condone any of Bobby’s behaviour and I’m truly sorry to everyone for what has transpired,” Wallace wrote. “I will have more to say later.”

Monday’s game between Iowa and LSU was the most-watched women’s NCAA game on record, according to ESPN. It had 12.3-million viewers — outdrawing every NBA game last season except for Game 5 of the Finals, every regular-season NCAA football game and every MLB game.

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The WNBA has seen substantial growth as well and reportedly is interested in potentially expanding into Canada.

Ryan played 866 games in his NHL career, suiting up for the Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings. He scored 261 goals and notched 569 points.

During the 2019-20 season with Ottawa, the former second-overall pick missed roughly three months after entering the NHL player assistance program due to his ongoing struggles with alcohol abuse. He later was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey.

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dbilicki@postmedia.com

Twitter/X: @danbilicki

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