Chase Schaber says he is feeling good and back to his best after a summer of rehabilitation.
The Fife Flyers’ talismanic forward spent a gruelling few months recovering from surgery to a groin injury which robbed him – and the team – of a huge chunk of last season.
The 28-year-old Canadian told the Press he is raring to go despite his latest injury ordeal.
He said: “Doing rehab is never fun. You’re always scared that something is going to happen, you might tweak or pull something, but I had good physiotherapists and listened to my doctors so I was able to just keep chipping away at it, making it better and getting it stronger.
“When it happened at first it was a really big blow. Mentally I wasn’t the same person. When you get an injury like that and you have doctors telling you may need this tendon, or you may not need it, you begin second guessing; am I going to be able to play hockey or am I not? Am I going to be able to do this to my body?
“I have a little boy back home so I had a lot weighing on me, with what I was going to do. Hockey is what I love to do. It’s my job and it’s what I’ve been doing since I was able to walk pretty much.
“But I got back to it, worked at it and now I feel a lot clearer.
“Eventually it started feeling a lot better towards the end of the summer. I got on the ice and I began to feel more excited.
“I’ve gone through injuries in the past that I’ve had to battle with. I was out for a year before with a skate cut and mentally it’s pretty damaging.
“I’ve been through the grind and this time I knew I could do it, it was just putting up with it.
“The gym was no issue for me, I was able to work out. I had to adapt in some ways because I couldn’t do my regular exercises, so that was different but I actually feel really great this year.
“I feel like I’m back.”
Schaber has been instrumental in the Flyers’ winning start to the EIHL campaign with two victories on the bounce over Coventry Blaze and Nottingham Panthers, and says he has been pleased with his own form so far.
“I’m taking care of my body off the ice and that’s showing around the ice,” he said.
“I feel really good out there. I’m making plays, playing good defence and chipping in offensively when I can.
“I’m trying to do little things to help make this team successful.
“We have a good team this year, it’s a great bunch of guys, a good room, there’s a lot of characters in there and I’m excited to see how far we can take this.”
The Flyers came under some criticism over the summer for making the bulk of their signings late on, but Schaber says they’ve fitted in perfectly.
“We already had a really good core group of guys who were returning so it was easy to slot those guys in and they just hit the ground running with us right away,” he added.
“It’s good we have that core group. Dutes and Hutch have instilled in us the systems that we play and they only want a certain kind of person on this team.
“The guys that are coming in just complement everything.”