It is impossible not to feel sorry for Shayne Stockton.
On Saturday night, following a 4-3 overtime win over EC Kassel Huskies, Stockton was grinning from ear-to-ear as he reflected on a goal-scoring return from a season-long injury.
By Sunday night, the 28-year-old was visibly distraught after suffering a shoulder injury during a heavy collision with an opposing player during the second exhibition match against the DEL2 side.
By Tuesday, his arm was in a sling and although in better spirits, his disappointment at facing another spell on the sidelines was evident.
“You jinxed me,” Stockton said, jokingly, as he referred to his ‘comeback’ interview on Saturday night, before adding: “Hopefully I’ll only be out for a few weeks this time.”
It is cruel break for a player who was eager to make up for lost time.
Speaking to the Press on Saturday night after coming through his first match since last October, Stockton said: “It felt great to be back.
“All day today I was just excited to get back out there and play hockey again. It’s been a long time coming, and a long off season for me, so it’s been an exciting day.”
Stockton’s unfortunate injury last season came after an impressive start in the Elite League, and his absence was felt throughout the campaign.
“I felt really good at the beginning of last year then it was just a flukey thing,” he said.
“I was unlucky that night. It was just a routine body check, and I finished the game, but afterwards I knew something wasn’t right. I got it looked at, and got the unfortunate news.
“It was hard to stay positive at first, and all I could do was rest.
“But once I started getting back into rehab, getting focused again, and just being able to train again, it was really motivating and exciting.
“I’ve been skating a lot, but summer hockey is shinny hockey, so getting out there and playing a real game took it up a couple of notches, and it was a tiring game for sure.”
After months of rest and recovery, Stockton was uncertain what the future held, so he was delighted to be asked to return to Fife for a third season.
“You never know what’s going to happen when teams know you’ve been hurt for a whole season,” he said. “But after talking with Todd and Tom, and them giving me another opportunity after getting injured, I’m just very fortunate, and very grateful.
“This is my third year here and I love playing here.
“It’s a long season and there’s going to be ups and downs, but you’ve got to stay level-headed, try to get better, build on the positives, and have short term goals rather than looking at the big picture.
“Play-off weekend is so far away there’s no reason to look at that now.
“I don’t set any personal goals points-wise, I just want to be part of the team as much as I can, and help out in any way I can. I just want to play well, and win hockey games.”
If there’s any justice in the world, then Stockton won’t be off the ice for long.