As much as he, his coaches and teammates wanted it to happen, a return to the Kelowna Rockets lineup simply wasn’t to be for Spencer Main.
The 20-year-old centre this week decided to put his major junior career indefinitely on hold as the result of recurring concussion symptoms.
After missing the last 60 games of the 2011-12 Western Hockey League season due to injury, the North Vancouver native resumed full workouts this summer and received medical clearance to return to the ice.
But last week, in the early stages of the Rockets’ 2012 training camp, the symptoms returned.
“I did everything possible to make sure I was ready and prepared for the season,” said the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Main. “But nothing can get you ready for game contact and that’s when my symptoms returned. I have to put my health first and I need to be 100 per cent before I can think about coming back.”
Main has received accolades from the Rockets’ coaching staff for both his character and leadership, both on and off the ice.
Rockets president and GM Bruce Hamilton said his presence will clearly be missed, but insisted Main’s health and well-being is of paramount importance.
“It’s a big loss for our organization but we’re going to do what is in the best interest of Spencer Main,” said Hamilton. “The best thing for him now is to step away from the game and try to get healthy.”
Main spent his entire four-year WHL career with the Rockets.
After being selected in the second round of the 2007 bantam draft, he joined the Rockets for the 2008-09 season and was with the club when it played in the 2009 Memorial Cup in Rimouski.
Main played in 197 career regular season games, compiling 24 goals, 28 assists and 129 penalty minutes.
He also had six points in 34 playoff games.
With all the time and energy Main spent on his training regime this past summer, it wasn’t the outcome he was expecting or hoping for. Still, Main isn’t about to take any undue risks with his health.
“It’s tough knowing that I can’t play right now,” he said. “It’s difficult knowing that I am getting symptoms but at this point I have to put my health first.
“I’d like to thank the Rockets organization and medical staff for their tremendous support during the past year.”
Main is the second member of the Rockets to step back from the game in the last year due to concussion symptoms.
Forward Max Adolph retired in 2011-12 after playing 97 games with the Rockets over parts of three seasons.
Rocket Shots…The Rockets will meet the Victoria Royals in a WHL pre-season home-and-home set this weekend. On Friday, the clubs will meet Friday night in Maple Ridge. On Saturday, the Rockets and Royals will face off at 7 p.m. at Prospera Place.