Derek Ryan, the NHL’s only Latter-day Saint, signed a two-year contract extension worth $1.8 million with the Edmonton Oilers, the Oilers announced in announced in a press release Tuesday.
Ryan played the past two seasons with the Oilers, scoring 23 goals and 42 points over 155 games. In 500 total NHL games between the Oilers, the Calgary Flames and the Carolina Hurricanes, he has 76 goals and 191 points.
The forward’s defensive ability has allowed him to play in the league into his late 30s. He didn’t play his first NHL game until he was 29, which is much later than most people.
Ryan joined the Church while playing for the Flames. His wife, Bonnie, whom he met in Calgary, introduced him to the Church and he’s never looked back. He told The Score in 2020 that he tries to attend church every Sunday, even if his team is on the road.
In an interview with Deseret News, Ryan shared some of the ways he practices his faith in a largely faithless environment.
“Before the game starts, I’ll always find a place to be by myself and have a prayer,” Ryan said. “I do this before I go and get my hockey equipment on. I find it’s a great way to put my faith and trust in the Lord. I’m not sure if He cares about the results of hockey games, but I like to pray for His guidance to stay on the path that He has set me on. As I’ve said before, there’s no doubt in my mind that He has put me where I am now for a reason.”