April 23, 1958|
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)|
Washington Capitals |
2nd overall, 1978|
Ryan William Walter (born April 23, 1958) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey centre who played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League. He was also an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks, head coach of the Canadian National Women's hockey team, a hockey broadcaster and president of the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League. Walter was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, but grew up in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Walter was drafted second overall by the Washington Capitals in the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft. At the time the Capitals named him as team captain in his second season, he was the youngest player in the history of the NHL to hold that position. Walter was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in a blockbuster trade in 1982. He went to Montreal along with Rick Green in exchange for Doug Jarvis, Rod Langway, Craig Laughlin and Brian Engblom. Walter's name is engraved on the Stanley Cup, which the Canadiens won in 1986 though Walter was injured for most of the playoffs. In the 1989 Stanley Cup Finals, he scored in the second overtime period of game three to give the Canadiens a 2–1 series lead. However, the Calgary Flames came back to win the series and the Cup. In 1991 he signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks, where he played the final two seasons of his career and won the Budweiser NHL Man of the Year Award in 1992. He was known as a tough, hard-working player who was excellent in the face-off circle. Walter also served as vice president of the NHL Players Association.
From 1993–94 until 1997–98, he worked for TSN as the network's secondary hockey colour commentator. In this role, he worked on NHL, CHL, and IIHF broadcasts. He worked five Memorial Cups, one World Junior Hockey Championship, and four World Hockey Championships. From 1996–97 until 2001–02, he was the colour commentator on Vancouver Canucks television broadcasts on BCTV, Rogers Sportsnet and VTV. He also occasionally filled in on radio when Tom Larscheid had football duties. In these roles, he was teamed up with, at various times, Jim Robson, Jim Hughson and John Shorthouse.
On June 17, 2008, Walter was named an assistant coach to Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks. He was relieved of his duties after the 2009-10 season. On September 21, 2010, Walter was named head coach of Canada's women's hockey team which won the Gold Medal at the 2010 Four Nations Cup.
Walter is a motivational speaker, author and leadership expert, using his experiences in hockey to relate to business and success.
Walter also had a cameo appearance in the movie Miracle, playing the referee in the game between the USA and USSR in Lake Placid and was hired by Disney to be a hockey expert for the movie. He was also hired as a hockey expert for both seasons of Making the Cut, a Nike hockey commercial, and played himself on an episode of the Canadian TV series Being Ian.
Walter has three sons who are also hockey players. His oldest son, Ben, was drafted by the Boston Bruins of the NHL and currently plays for EC Red Bull Salzburg. Joey spent 2006–07 and 2007–08 with the Langley Chiefs of the BCHL and currently plays for the Trinity Western University Spartans, and his other son, Ryan Jr., played for the TWU Titans in 2006-07 and 2007–08 as well as the Liberty University club hockey team.
Regular season and playoffs
| Washington Capitals first round draft pick
| Washington Capitals captain