Howard Richardson Ryan
Truro Flash Howie Ryan Sets Another Record
Truro native Howie Ryan was an all-round athlete at Acadia between 1927 and 1931. He made the rugby football team as a freshman and every year after, winning his “A” football in his first year. In a 1929 game against Dalhousie University (NS) “Ryan grabbed the pigskin and started toward the [goal] line. Dalhousians started after him, but he had too much speed and he continued in front of them. Eville was running along side of him, ready to take off a pass in case he was tackled, but there was no necessity, and Ryan scored a try in the most spectacular run seen here in years....” Although Acadia lost that game, “he was always in the game, fighting all the time, making great gains for his team.” Ryan’s play on the pitch was consistently excellent; Fred Kelly named him to his 1927-1937 all-star team. Ryan was also a threat on the ice, and in 1930, was a member of the Valley League winning team. The 1929 yearbook noted that he “put the same brand of tremendous energy into his hockey as he did into football....”
Ryan will best be remembered for his outstanding, often record-breaking performances in track and field. At Acadia’s interclass track and field competitions, Ryan led his class team to victory in both 1929 and 1930. During the 1929 meet, although his class won, Ryan gave way to Vern Eville for individual high scoring honours. In the 220, pushed by Eville, the “Truro flash” lowered the track record for the event that had been set by Ira Moland in 1908; he also won the pole vault, the 100 yard dash and the broad jump. Acadia dominated the Maritimes intercollegiate track world during Ryan’s era. In May 1931, the team won the Maritime title for the third straight year with Ryan the high scorer. In spite of wet, cool weather, Ryan broke his own hop, step and jump record by leaping 41 feet, 7 inches.
In August 1930 Ryan represented Nova Scotia at the national track meet, participating in the 100 metres, 200 metres and broad jump. In the 15 July 1931 Highland games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, headlines announced that the “Truro Flash Again Leads Points Scoring” when Ryan won the 100 yard dash and broad jump and was second in the 220 yard dash and the hop, step and jump.
After graduation from Acadia in 1931, Ryan taught school and directed physical education programs at several schools. He later taught Physical Education at the University of New Brunswick and McGill University in Montreal.
(Acadian Recorder, 18 May 1929; 28 May 1929; Halifax Herald 11 May 1930, 9 July 1930, 30 July 1930)