It's not quite “wait until next year” for the Vancouver Canucks, unless you're elite prospect Hunter Shinkaruk. The 19-year-old left-winger is recovering from major hip surgery and will not be back this season no matter how far the Medicine Hat Tigers, his junior team, advance in the Western Hockey League playoffs. So for him it's rehab, to be followed by regular off-season training, to be followed by an attempt to make the big club next fall. He played just 18 games for the Tigers in 2013-14, a lot of those in pain, but isn't bitter about having almost an entire season pulled from beneath him. The Canucks selected Shinkaruk in the first round, 24th overall, in last June's NHL entry draft. “I mean, there are a lot worse things than to get hip surgery and recover,” Shinkaruk said Wednesday while in Vancouver to see team doctors. “I've kind of told myself, in the days where it sucks not being on the ice, there are people going through a lot worse things in the world than I am. I'm pretty fortunate I've gotten all the support I have.” Shinkaruk was one of the shining stars at last September's training camp and during the pre-season, but didn't last long once he returned to Medicine Hat. His left hip, he later admitted, had been bothering him for some time. He tried to play through it in an effort to make Canada's world junior team and, when that attempt failed, he opted for surgery for a torn labrum. The operation was performed Jan. 7 in Vail, Colo., by noted hip specialist Marc Philippon. “It's been a little bit weird not playing but I think, for me, my hip had been something that was hurt for a little while,” he said. “It's been nice to mentally get past that point. It feels great now. I haven't had any problems with it since the surgery. It's been really nice to just recover and not to have to go through any bumps. “I've skated but I'm not pushing it too hard. I'm just kind of getting the feel for being back on the ice and doing some light skating. It's really nice knowing that my hip is going to be okay. I've worked really hard and I've had great people to work with and everything has been awesome. I'm really lucky how everything has gone.” There is no doubt in Shinkaruk's mind that he'll be ready for next fall's training camp, which is six months away.
Canucks prospect Hunter Shinkaruk hip to team’s future while recovering from surgery
Vancouver Sun | Mar 20