A couple of years ago, the future looked bright for Joey Hishon. A first-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche, Hishon was leading the Owen Sound Attack’s march to the Memorial Cup after leading the OHL in points per game.
Then in an instant, everything went black.
In their Memorial Cup-opening game against the Kootenay Ice, Hishon absorbed a vicious hit from defenseman Brayden McNabb. McNabb has since gone on to the Buffalo Sabers and their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans. Hishon has yet to play another game.
That will all change Tuesday night, as he will be in the lineup for the Lake Erie Monsters.
"It's almost impossible to explain what I'm feeling, and what I've been going through, since I was told I'd be in the lineup tonight," Hishon told The Denver Post after Tuesday's morning skate. "There's a lot of excitement, mixed with a lot of nervousness. But I'm just so excited to get going and can't wait to get my pro career started."
Hishon has been skating since December, but had not been cleared to play. Now that he has received clearance, he will finally see game action. Action that cannot be truly replicated in practice. Action that will test if he is truly recovered from the hit that shaved a couple of years off of his career.
When the Monsters take on the Toronto Marlies in Cleveland; not only will this be Hishon’s first game in two years; it will also be his first game ever at the professional level. It comes at the right time for Lake Erie, as the Monsters currently sit with a .500 record, out of the playoff picture, on a four-game losing streak and in desperate need of some secondary scoring behind Michael Sgarbossa and Andrew Agozzino.
The comeback may not have been possible if it weren’t for the treatment Hishon received from Dr. Ted Carrick, the same renowned doctor who had treated Sidney Crosby. Crosby currently leads the NHL in scoring with 48 points, and having played in all 30 of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ games this season.
Hishon is just focusing on getting the one under his belt.
One game. One step on the road to recovery. One step closer to his dream. A dream that until recently, seemed like it may never come true.