Back on the farm: Bruins' Nick Ritchie helping with family's horses during quarantine

Scott McLaughlin
May 13, 2020 - 3:00 pm
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Nick Ritchie is back on the farm. No, the Bruins trade deadline acquisition didn't get sent down to the minors or anything. He's back on his parents' farm in Ontario, where he's been spending this coronavirus quarantine period with family, including brother Brett.

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So what does one do on a farm to kill time until hockey returns? Help with the horses, of course. On a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday, Ritchie said he's been helping take care of his family's racing horses, including some dirty work like cleaning stalls.

"I've been back at our family farm back in Ontario, my parents' place here," Ritchie said. "I've been quarantine here and doing stuff around the farm. Working out most days, running, have some weights and stuff here. It's a horse farm, so I've been helping with the horses a little bit."

You might think this is some sort of old school workout plan to stay in shape, but Ritchie says that's not the case. It really is just to help out, as he's also been doing regular workouts separate from the farm work.

"I wouldn't say it's a big training thing," Ritchie said. "I've cleaned a few stalls. They're race horses, harness racing. Cleaning stalls, I guess throwing a few hay bales, but it's more just to help out my dad and my parents. There's some physical activity with that, but most of the working out has been just your standard stuff."

On a bit of a more relevant-to-hockey note, Ritchie presents an interesting case when it comes to the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season. He had only played seven games with the team after arriving from Anaheim before the season was suspended.

He would have had 12 more regular-season games to get more comfortable with his new team before the playoffs, but now there's the possibility of the NHL jumping right into the postseason when it returns, or only playing a handful of regular-season games before the playoffs.

None of is it ideal for anyone, but even less so for someone who was just starting to adjust to new surroundings.

"It's a bit tough where we haven't seen the team or obviously practiced or anything," Ritchie said. "I was there such little time I think I didn't really get to know everybody the way everybody else knows everyone, with me being one of the few new guys. So that kind of sucked that the pause happened. But we've been having talks once a week on Zoom here and just been talking, and it just kind of feels like you're back in the locker room for an hour or so. That's all we can do right now, and it's been pretty good."

Ritchie said that he's also talked to Bruins coaches a couple times during this break and that having his brother Brett in the Bruins organization all season (Brett was with AHL Providence at the time of the break) has helped him get up to speed as well.

Although Ritchie knows it'll be a challenge when and if the season does resume, he said he at least has a bit of a foundation to build on.

"I think it's going to be a challenge for everybody, maybe a little more in my case with being so new," Ritchie said. "But I was there long enough where I got to at least meet everybody and talk to everybody. A lot of the systems in the NHL these days are very similar from team to team, so I don't think that's as much of an adjustment as maybe people think. Obviously there's an adjustment just from playing with new players. Everyone's a good hockey player, so it's pretty easy to adapt. There will be an adjustment, but I think everyone will have an adjustment once we come back."

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