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Halle just won’t stay down – Recorder & Times

Jonathon Brodie - R&T

Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times

Brockville Braves Mathieu Halle was sitting at home watching his team play without him just a few weeks ago.

He had separated his shoulder on a harmless hit in a road game against the Kemptville 73s in mid-October. The initial diagnosis was the 18-year-old was going to need surgery sooner than later and he would be out for the season.

At first Halle went to the Memorial Centre every Friday to root his team on from the stands, but after a while it became too frustrating, he said. Here he was, so close to the ice and unable to do anything to help his teammates score a few more wins. The Kingston native decided to go back home and watch the games online.

“It’s frustrating to come watch here when you can’t play,” said Halle. “It was just easier to stay at home and watch it.”

The Braves even made plans to move on without Halle this season. They brought in forward Nicholas Wildgoose to replace him. Soon after Wildgoose arrived to Brockville in late November, Halle got second and third opinions for his shoulder – about a month after the initial diagnosis – and it was decided surgery wasn’t as dire as initially expected.

After hitting the ice last week for the first time since his injury, Halle will return to the Braves lineup Friday at home against the Rockland Nationals.

Halle will have surgery on his left shoulder in the off-season and he’s expected to be able to play at the start of the 2019-20 season. In the meantime he has to wear a brace that will hold his shoulder in place.

“It’s a little annoying,” said Halle about the brace. “But, at least I get to play.”

The initial practices were tough when he first returned to the ice, said Halle, so he did doubleduty and worked with the Braves hockey academy in the morning before returning to the arena for the Braves afternoon practice.

“More ice is better,” said Halle. People who have followed Halle’s career with the Braves know this recent injury was a major letdown for him. Last year he sat out for a little more than two months after a heart murmur was found during a team physical.

Being sidelined this time was harder, Halle said. This year he was hoping to bounce back from last season’s layoff and planned to enhance his role as the longeststanding Braves player with three years under his belt. All those hopes were put on ice when he was initially told his season was over.

The forward’s return is welcomed by head coach Jesse Winchester, who skated beside Halle for the first few practices to help get his feet under him.

Halle is the type of player who can be plugged anywhere into the lineup. He has enough skill to be a top-six forward and, at 6-foot-1 and about 200 pounds, he can a contribute to the physical side of the game deeper in the depth chart.

Halle went down when he just started to heat up early into the season. He scored five points in six games before the injury.

It’s easy to forget how much time Halle still has in front of him considering how long he’s been with the Braves. And, when you mix his talent level into the equation with his quick shot and skill without the puck then you forget he’s only 18-years-old. He has two more years of CCHL eligibility after this season.

Even though he’s missed extended periods of time in the last two seasons he still has a lot of games ahead of him to get even better.

“He’s a game-breaker,” said Winchester. “He has a lethal shot and the other parts of his game are rounding out. He has really high skill, he’s a big body, he loves his teammates, he has a good attitude on the bench, and he’s a really big part of our group.”

Original Story at Recorder.ca