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Bleary eyes in Bonavista: Town cheers NHL native sons

Last Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2009 | 7:59 AM ET

A small town on Newfoundland's northeast coast has been keeping late hours this month, as residents cheer on not one, but two residents in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Michael Ryder of the Boston Bruins and Adam Pardy of the Calgary Flames both hail from Bonavista.

"There is a huge, huge hype around here this year. Everywhere you go — stores, restaurants, coffee shops — it's the talk of the town," said Nikki Pardy, a distant relative of Adam Pardy.

Pardy said it has been strange watching residents of the town of about 3,800 split over which player they favour. She said, though, they all agree on one thing: cheering on a player who can bring the Stanley Cup home.

On Wednesday night, Ryder's fans leapt with joy in a moment that provided some sweet justice. Ryder, who was benched by the Montreal Canadiens during last year's playoffs, scored two goals and an assist as the Bruins defeated the Habs 4-1 in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals, knocking Montreal out of the playoffs altogether.

"I was ecstatic after the win, very nervous before the game," Wayne Ryder, Michael Ryder's father, told CBC News on Thursday morning.

Ryder said his nervousness was related to "what happened last year," when his son's career appeared to be under a cloud in Montreal.

Michael Ryder's strong performance against his former team has not been lost on the sports world.

"Even the commentators and, you know, TSN Sportsnet, they've commented on it, too," he said.

Stan Pardy, the father of Adam Pardy, said the playoffs have set the town on fire.

The Flames beat the Blackhawks on Wednesday, tying their Western Conference series 2-2.

"It's a lot of excitement to see your young fellow playing in the NHL, in the playoffs. We can't sleep, for sure," Stan Pardy said.

Pardy and Ryder are just two of the local athletes in this year's NHL playoffs. Also competing are Dan Cleary of the defending champions, the Detroit Red Wings, as well as Ryane Clowe, a Fermeuse native who is a forward with the San Jose Sharks, and Labrador City's Dan LaCosta, who plays goal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Cleary made Newfoundland and Labrador sports history last year by becoming the first player from the province to play on a Stanley Cup-winning team.


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