RYAN AND NOELLA OLYNYK
The strongest, most meaningful relationships are the ones that are founded on trust and fostered by communication.
Faith in God flows through all things. In actions, thoughts, words, and intentions, faith pervades all and provides all.
A healthy body and a sound mind will take you far in life. It’s important to always eat right and exercise to live your best life.
Having a loving family is like always having a home away from home. There’s nothing else in life that can compare.
Ryan Olynyk grew up in a small, rural town. He wasn’t particularly athletically inclined as a child, but he had grand hopes of one day playing in the NHL. Unlike other kids whose parents handed them everything on a silver platter—or so it seemed to Ryan—he had to work for his privileges. He took on a paper route to pay for golf clubs and spent hours upon hours practicing when others rested on raw talent. Looking back on it all, Ryan realizes now that those early lessons played an enormous part in his success later on in life.
From his father and through his experiences as a paperboy, Ryan learned, “Through hard work and diligence, you can succeed.” It’s not that he became the world’s best newspaper-slinger—it’s that he worked hard and diligently for what he had. While the other boys were focusing on other pursuits, Ryan set his sights on his goal of playing in the NHL. Like most normal people, he hated the extra work and the sacrifices he had to make to get to where he was going. But, unlike his peers, he was willing to go that extra mile—that extra kilometer, if you will.
Even though he wasn’t naturally talented, soon he surpassed the other kids in his class, thanks to his relentless determination. As a grown man, he acknowledges, “Anyone can be that relentless if they just have a dream, vision, or goal.”
Because he ate, slept, and breathed hockey for years, he eventually made it to the minor leagues of the NHL. He lived out his dream. But, it wasn’t until he moved down a division and saw what a difference an incredible coach could make that he won a national championship.
Fast forward a couple of years to one extremely influential summer in Ryan’s life. He was at a summer training camp for hockey when he decided to accept Jesus into his heart. That was the pivoting point in his life, where he found his purpose and ignited his passion for life. Breaking his arm that summer led him to make some very important decisions that would inform the rest of his life and his career.
Ryan buckled down and went back to school. He got serious about his studies and was determined to make his way to the NHL after he graduated from NAIT.
At the same time Ryan was making a commitment to academics, his future wife, Noella, was skating through school just for the chance to play volleyball. They laugh now about how they met and fell in love. Noella makes sure to emphasize, “It was not love at first sight.”
Though they were at odds at first, the two grew to establish a strong friendship that was centered around similar goals, ideals, vision, and values. Even though they hadn’t initially fallen head over heels for one another, their relationship blossomed and burgeoned. After a year of dating, the couple got engaged. Another year later, they were married.
Ryan finished up school and jumped straight back into professional hockey, and Noella studied to become a registered nurse. Unfortunately, Ryan’s passion for hockey was fading, and when he was offered an opportunity to play in Scotland, he declined it in favor of becoming a personal fitness trainer.
Noella, too, had doubts about her career trajectory. It dawned on her that nursing wasn’t her true passion. She had always loved singing and wanted to pursue it, but wasn’t sure how she could make it her main gig. With Ryan’s support, she opted for auditioning to be on “Canadian Idol.” She made it quite far, but luckily, another opportunity presented itself that seemed far more promising than a singing career.
“Success is not convenient; it’s messy. But it comes to you when you work to overcome what other people aren’t willing to push through,” Ryan has said of his efforts in building a successful entrepreneurship. That entrepreneurship has allowed the couple to be full-time husband and wife as well as full-time parents to their son.
Now that they’ve made their own way, they’re fully committed to helping others along with their respective journeys. Their faith, their family, and their commitment to helping and serving others are what give them continual joy.