CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – We’re just five games into the Campbell River Storm’s 48-game season, and head coach and general manager Lee Stone already finds himself in a predicament.
The Storm lost four players, including three defencemen, to concussions during a chippy, 4-2 road win over the Victoria Cougars late Sunday afternoon.
Stone knows not to rush any of his walking wounded back into the lineup, because for someone recovering from a concussion, another head hit can be life-altering.
“When you’re 70, you can get your knee replaced, you can get your hip replaced, you can do whatever you’ve got to do but you’ve only got one brain,” Stone said. “Those (types of injuries) are ones you can’t play around with.”
The concussion protocol is seven days, symptom-free, Stone said: “No matter what, we’re going to be missing those boys for the weekend, here.”
This means a doctor’s visit on Friday followed by light exercise before the intensity picks up as the symptoms fade. But the second there’s a headache, the player starts at square one again.
On the ice, the Storm sandwiched a 9-1 blowout of the Comox Valley Glacier Kings on Friday and their aforementioned 4-2 victory over Victoria on Sunday with a 3-2 home loss to the Saanich Braves on Saturday.
Stone was not happy with his team’s effort against the Braves, who the Storm beat in the VIJHL final series last spring.
“I thought we showed up to a game against a team that we beat in the finals last year totally unprepared for the compete level and the battle that Saanich was going to bring to the rink,” Stone said. “The reality is, when you beat someone in the league finals the previous year, they’re going to come back with gumption and try to beat you.”
Stone gave Saanich credit for playing a great game, but quickly switched his focus back on his own troops.
“Even though we played as poorly as we did, I thought we still could have walked away with a win (in) that game,” he said.
But Stone was very impressed with the way his team bounced back against the Cougars on Sunday afternoon.
“Having to get on the bus at 9:30 in the morning and travel down to Vic, after playing those two games, and playing a team we knew was going to compete, I thought the boys did exceptional.”
And with the rash of injuries all in one game, Stone said it was “pretty incredible” to see how his players bonded together considering the adversity they faced.
Another busy weekend
The two-time defending VIJHL champion Storm are 3-2 and will look for their fourth win on Friday when they host the Kerry Park Islanders at Rod Brind’Amour Arena.
Then they travel to the Comox Valley Sports Centre on Saturday to take on the Glacier Kings.
Both games have 7:30 p.m. opening puck drops.