The junior hockey career of Kyle St. Denis remains on hold.
The Kelowna Rockets forward, who continues his recovery from multiple concussions, will stay on the club’s injured reserve until Christmas.
St. Denis, 20, along with his parents, recently met with two specialists, both of whom recommended he avoid body contact. The family then decided it was best for Kyle to take a break from hockey.
“It’s really hard,” said St. Denis. “I’ve been training all summer to come back with the intention of playing. This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make. But hearing the doctors say I can’t play made it an easier decision.”
St. Denis will remain on injured reserve until Christmas when, if he is feeling better, he will be re-evaluated. In the meantime the veteran forward will begin investigating educational opportunities and spending time at home in Trail.
Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton said it has been a tough time for St. Denis, his family and the Rockets organization.
“It’s a great loss to our organization,” said Hamilton. “Our biggest concern is for Kyle’s health. We want to get him back to being productive, whether it be in hockey or in school. Most importantly his health is first and foremost.”
During a three-year playing career St. Denis electrified Kelowna crowds with his energetic style and offensive flair. At 17-years-old he scored 40 points but both of his previous two seasons were ended by injury.
For St. Denis’ part, being away from his sport of passion has been a difficult adjutsment, but one he realizes is necessary for his long-term health.
“Obviously I’m quite upset about it, but health comes first. I have to look after my health,” St. Denis added. “I’ve been feeling pretty good the last couple of weeks but it’s not where I want to be. I think it just takes time.”
The Rockets and the WHL will play a role in allowing St. Denis to find an outlet other than hockey. Because he can’t play due to injury, St. Denis will receive a full four-year, post-secondary scholarship from the Rockets through the WHL education program.