Ryan played hockey for the Santa Clara Valley Hockey Association Blackhawks at Eastridge Arena for coach Jeff Hickey as a Squirt. Ryan's dad worked for Cupertino-based Symantec Corporation. The family lived in Santa Clara for two years. The first year Ryan was a forward, but switched to goaltender the next year and never looked back. While in the San Jose area Ryan worked hard with other young players to try to bring an NHL franchise to the Bay Area. Ironically, Ryan's cousins Kip Miller and Kevin Miller were members of the first San Jose Sharks team. Kip scored the first goal in Shark's franchise history. Kip and Ryan both won the Hobey Baker award at Michigan State.