NEWMOUTH, N.Y. – The Hurkacz family is still seeking to learn if Brad Hurkacz will be able to play on the team again with ECAC Bisons after suffering a torn Achilles tendon just before the end of the preseason, the latest in a series of injuries for the top goaltender.
They don’t seem to be in dire straits. ECAC Bisons Coach Matt Gilmour feels better about Brad Hurkacz’s chances than he did just a couple weeks ago after the junior suffered the injury. They’re still not out of the woods.
“It’s day-to-day at this point,” Gilmour said in an interview Monday. “We’re obviously a little bit ahead of where we expected to be. He’s doing great, he’s doing well. You just want to make sure you have him healthy when you’re ready to move forward and make a decision.”
Brad Hurkacz and Colton Potts are ahead of the schedule in their rehab and their speed up to the point where Gilmour expects they could make the start on the season. That would enable a move to the Canadian University Hockey League (which is run by the Hockey Canada Amateur Division) to be made.
However, the situation looks uncertain, albeit slowly recovering.
“He (had) reached the point where he’s doing a little bit better, just as far as muscle strength and mobility. The hardest thing is getting him to the point where he can put it down and do some free-type work,” Gilmour said. “He’s had a couple of good days of doing the net and he has the puck in his hands in the cage. With practice reps, the longer he stays out there, the better he gets. I think he’s a month ahead of where he was three weeks ago, and I wouldn’t say we’re a couple weeks ahead of where we were before.”
Gilmour was diplomatic in the interview about whether he would move to the Canadian AIHL, which is run by the Hockey Canada Amateur Division. He was asked if he might be more likely to move to Canada for somebody like Brad Hurkacz.
“We would discuss any of those things. Certainly, we’re trying to get through this thing as quick as we can,” Gilmour said. “I want to make sure I’m the right guy to make that decision. I have full faith in our strength coach and the rest of our staff and administration to make that call, so we’ll leave it at that.”
For Brad Hurkacz’s part, he’s feeling better and is inching closer to the finish line.
“He feels a lot better than when he first got hurt. We’re trying to simulate that play with a rubber sled but then it got sticky. We’re trying to keep him as close to how he was when he hurt it as we can,” Gilmour said. “He’s doing a lot of things, riding the bike, lots of different types of exercises he’s doing every day to stay ready to go for our season opener.”