It was a tough 2014/15 season for the Save-On-Foods Oceanside Generals but for defenseman Chandler Bruyckere, the hardest part was not being able to go through it with his team.
Bruyckere, a 20-year-old who hails from Parksville, missed the majority of last season thanks to a shoulder injury that had him go under the knife for repairs.
It was a long season away from the ice for Bruyckere but he’s nearing full health and is itching to get back into action.
“It’s getting close,” Bruyckere said. “I’m about ninety-five percent I’d say, there’s still a few things that I can’t do just yet at the gym but other than that, things are going very well.”
“I’m happy that the waiting is over and I’m pretty much healed up now. It’s been a long wait but I’m excited to be able to get back on the ice and get back into playing hockey again.”
Entering his final season of eligibility to the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, Bruyckere is looking forward to putting on the blue and red for the Generals once again and wants to go out with a bang in his final season with the hometown team.
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Bruyckere said. “I can remember being an 8 year old and watching the Gens games back then, wanting to play for them one day when I was older.”
“It’s been lots of fun playing for the hometown team and I’m really looking forward to putting it all out there for my final season at home here.”
Back in 2013, Bruyckere headed south of the border during the VIJHL season to play for the El Paso, Texas Rhinos in the Western States Hockey League.
In the 15 regular season games he suited up for the Rhinos, Bruyckere had one goal and nine assists, along with 14 penalty minutes.
That season the Rhinos went on to win the national championship and Bruyckere returned with the confidence that comes with winning such an honour.
The shoulder injury would set him back though this past season. After watching the majority of the games from the stands, Bruyckere saw a few things as a spectator that he normally might have seen from the ice, which hopes to implement into his game plan this upcoming season with the Generals.
“You definitely see it differently,” Bruyckere said. “There’s only so much that you can see on the ice and it’s hard to see it sometimes because there’s usually not that much time to make a decision.”
“Sitting up in the stands, I saw that I’ll probably be able to have a little more time when I’ve got the puck than I thought I did, that’ll help me be able to see things a little better and make some better decisions with the puck.”
“I definitely saw lots just sitting up there in the stands though and I feel it’s only going to help me out there on the ice this season.”