Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Return For Hamilton

As I mentioned last night, it was great to see the Rebels veterans back on the ice for the first time this week.  It was especially great to see last year's injured players back out there at full speed.

The one guy you perhaps feel the best for is Joel Hamilton.  No one has had a longer, tougher road back to the ice.

It was a scary moment when Joel suffered a back injury on February 11th which ended his season.  A seemingly harmless hit along the bench-side boards versus the Moose Jaw Warriors ended up in Joel fracturing his L1 and L2 vertebrae (see my blog from Feb. 12 for more).

"I'm feeling a lot better than I was.  That's for sure," Hamilton told me, somewhat sheepishly, this morning.  "I had a long off-season getting back to 100-percent.  It took a lot of slow days at the gym just easing back into it.  A couple of weeks ago, I received treatment in Vancouver.  Since then it's been feeling a lot better [than it was].  Out on the ice it's been feeling really good."

Even more so than what was no doubt a tough, physical grind toward getting back into shape, Hamilton admits the mental adversity created by his back injury took a lot to overcome.

"I was worried coming back that I just wouldn't be the same or I wouldn't be able to play my style of game.  That run and gun, get in the corners and getting gritty hockey.  So far in camp it's been better [mentally] and hopefully it just keeps getting better."

In 44 games played last season, Hamilton netted 5 goals and 13 assists and was on the good side of +/- at plus-six.  Joel has every intention on improving on those numbers this season.

"I just really wanna be a guy that Jesse can look down the bench and put out there in any situation. Then hopefully at the end of this year get drafted or at least get looked at for sure."

"Especially for me, not playing for the last month [of the season], the whole summer I was just biting to get back out there.  I can't wait for that first game.  I know it's going to be a better year."


The first of today's three scrimmages took place this morning at the Enmax Centrium featuring Team Black vs. Team White. (click here to see scrimmage rosters)  Note - these are NOT the rosters for tomorrow night's Black/White Intrasquad Game.  These rosters are only for today's scrimmages along with a third team, Team Silver. 

The first half ended scoreless with Patrik Bartosak and Bolton Pouliot both closing the door for their teams.  Bartosak faced the tougher scoring chances, for the most part, and was outstanding.

The flood gates opened in the second half as Team Black jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Cole Chorney, Jesse Miller, and Marc McCoy.  All three goals came against Taz Burman (the subject of Wally's latest write-up over at www.rebelrebellion.com).

But Team White would storm back.  Tanner Wishnowski found a loose puck in the crease and pushed it past Nicholas Patterson.  Less then a minute later, Turner Elson would snap one off the post and in to make it 3-2.  Elson capped off the comeback with his second goal of the match with just over two minutes remaining.  Final score, 3-3.

One minor injury note... Tyler Hart was struck in the mouth by a puck during the second half.  He immediately headed to the dressing room and did not return.  But I did see him walking around the hallway postgame.  He was a bit bloodied but otherwise appeared fine (didn't get close enough to check for stitches).

Two more scrimmages go today at 1:30pm and 6:00pm.  The annual McDonalds Black/White Exhibition Game goes tomorrow night at the Enmax Centrium at 7pm.  Admission is a $2 donation to the Red Deer Firefighters Athletic Fund.


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