Having to wait an extra seven weeks to join his teammates was a sobering reality for Dillon Dube.
Being back on the ice with his Kelowna Rockets has simply confirmed what the 18-year-old centre already knew to be true.
“You just realize how much you miss it, how much fun it is to be playing the game,” said Dube.
“Even the warm-up, being back with the guys, it makes you feel part of it again. It’s great to be back.”
Dube returned to the Rockets’ lineup on Saturday night and promptly put up three assists in a 7-1 win over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.
It was Dube’s first game since late September when the Calgary Flames’ prospect suffered a knee injury in an exhibition game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Seven weeks of thorough rehab followed, and while it required patience and persistence—with the help of Rockets’ athletic therapist, Scott Hoyer—Dube stayed both focused and positive.
“Sitting around was rough, but you realize you can’t change anything, so you do what you have to do to get back,” said Dube, who missed 27 games in his rookie season with an ankle injury.
“Scott Hoyer and I have worked together on injuries before and he got me up and going the best and quickest way he could.”
Dube said he’s happy to be finally getting a chance to play for new Rockets’ head coach Jason Smith.
From Smith’s perspective, he’s understandably pleased to have Dube back in the Rockets’ arsenal.
“He’s going to be a key component of us having success going forward,” Smith said of Dube.
“He’s obviously got elite puck skills and vision for the game.
“He’s very quick and he’s a dynamic guy, plus he’s really looking forward to growing his game and being a 200-foot player.”
Dube and the Rockets will host the Prince George Cougars tonight at Prospera Place. Face-off is 7:05 p.m.