It's safe to say that not too many BU hockey players had a collegiate career like Ryan Ruikka.
Coming into his freshman season at BU in 2008, he was a medium level recruit who projected to be a contributor from his sophomore year on. He was all-state as a senior in Michigan, and was named to the Michigan High School Dream Team in the same year. Ruikka went on to play juniors for two years, one in the USHL and the second in the EJHL - where Ryan was named to the league All-Star team. Upon arriving at BU, Ruikka immediately encountered adversity, as he was injured in a collision with Matt Gilroy prior to official practices began. After recovering from that injury, he broke his shoulder blade in practice and officially redshirted the season. Ruikka came into the fall of 2009 healthy and ready to work, but again he suffered an injury prior to the start of the season, tearing his ACL in preseason training.
Ryan made his BU debut in 2010-11, playing in all 34 games and tallying three goals and four assists. He played in 29 games in 2011-12, putting up five assists, including four in Hockey East play. Ruikka was honored at senior night in 2012, but decided to use his final season of eligibility left over from his redshirt freshmen year. Ryan was named an assistant captain for the 2012-13 season, appearing in 34 of 39 contests and registering one goal and six assists.
More impressive than his on-ice achievements, though, are his academic achievements. Ryan earned two bachelor's degrees (mathematics, economics) and one master's degree (economics) in just four years at BU, and is currently completing his second master's degree, this time in administrative studies. He has been a member of the Hockey East All Academic team each of the past four seasons, won the Regina Eilberg Scholarship for top scholar-athlete twice, and just last year earned BU's prize for Excellence in Economics.
Constantly lauded by his teammates for his work ethic and dedication on and off the ice, Ryan will certainly be missed by his teammates. Sahir Gill referred to him as a mentor for some of the younger players in a BU Today article from the fall, and in the same article Sean Escobedo said of Ryan: “There’s not too many like him out there. He’s a guy that definitely does everything the right way, taking care of his business, whether it’s in the classroom or around the rink. He’s just a guy you can always look up to and count on to do the right thing. He’s a real special guy for this team.”
We wish Ryan the best of luck in his future endeavors, whether he decides to pursue hockey further or puts one of those four degrees to good use. Something tells us no matter what he chooses, Ryan Ruikka won't have any problem excelling. It's just what he does.