Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hutt looking for place to play

By late Friday afternoon, Killian Hutt said he was over the shock of having been released by the Swift Current Broncos earlier in the week.
Hutt, 20, who hasn’t played in an ice hockey game since Dec. 10, has cleared WHL waivers and is a free agent. The Broncos released him in what Mark Lamb, the Broncos’ general manager and head coach, said was a move designed to help them get down to the maximum three 20-year-olds.
“That kind of came out of left field for me,” Hutt said Friday from his family’s Edmonton-area home. “I love it in Swift. It kind of felt like my second home.
“But I’m out of shock now.”
Hutt’s 2010-11 season ended on Dec. 10 in Kamloops when he was run over in the Blazers’ slot by winger Jordan DePape. Hutt ended up being stretchered off the ice and spending the night in hospital. While he didn’t play again last season, he was cleared to return to play, but Lamb chose to keep him out as the team’s playoff hopes disappeared.
“Health-wise, I’m doing really good,” Hutt said, adding that he could have played in the playoffs had the Broncos qualified.
These days, he is working out regularly, skating and . . .
“I’ve been playing a lot of roller hockey,” Hutt said, adding that he recently returned from a tournament in Florida. “It went really well.”
With all the gym work and the roller hockey, Hutt said, “I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in since I’ve been in this league.”
After being dropped by the Broncos, he was placed on WHL waivers and has since cleared, making him a free agent. That means he now is contacting teams and playing something of a waiting game.
“My priority is to play major junior,” he said, “but if I have to I’ll go play junior A until hopefully something opens up.”
For example, someone called the Kamloops Blazers on his behalf. But the Blazers, at least for now, are pretty much set with three 20-year-olds in defencemen Josh Caron and Bronson Maschmeyer, along with forward Chase Schaber. However, Caron signed a contract with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild a year ago and could play in its system.
“Teams probably won’t know until more towards the end of training camp what they are looking for or what they need,” Hutt said. “So I’m kind of just sitting tight . . . playing shinny and working out every day, just kind of waiting to see what happens.”
The important thing, of course, is that Hutt has regained his health. Asked if he has any left over symptoms at all, he replied: “No. Not at all.”
That is good news. In a week when it was revealed that former WHL defencemen Clayton Barthel and Eric Doyle have had to end their hockey careers because of post-concussion syndrome, the fact that Hutt is feeling so well is good news indeed.
“When I got released,” Hutt said, “I think some teams likely thought it was due to health issues. But it wasn’t.
“Obviously, I’m still nervous to get back into the ice hockey physicality because I haven’t been in that kind of environment, but  . . .
“There are no symptoms. Nothing at all.”
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