Vancouver Giants' 'really scared' Marek Tvrdon lost for rest of WHL season with blood clot
METRO VANCOUVER — Vancouver Giants leading scorer Marek Tvrdon admitted Thursday he was scared — “really scared” — when told he had a blood clot in his left shoulder that could end his hockey career.
Tvrdon, 19, had a procedure done Monday at Vancouver General Hospital to remove the clot and faces further surgery. He is out for the season. But he said he was relieved to learn he should be able to resume playing next year. Tvrdon, a Slovakian, was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL entry draft.
“I was really scared when the doctor say I can maybe never play hockey anymore,” Tvrdon said in an interview at the Giants' training centre in Ladner. “The Detroit Red Wings were scared. My agent was scared. Now I feel better because they tell me I can still play hockey. So that's a good thing.”
Tvrdon, the Giants' first-line left-winger, explained that he figured something was wrong when his arm began to swell up before Sunday's 4 p.m. game against the Prince George Cougars. It had been bothering him for a couple of days but he was able to play Friday night and practise Saturday.
“Before the warmup for Sunday's game, I feel the arm so heavy so I got off and I show it to the doctor and he say I can't play," he said. "Monday morning I go to the hospital here, they do some tests and they transfer me to Vancouver hospital.”
Tvrdon was released from VGH Wednesday afternoon and felt well enough to attend the WHL-Russia Super Series game that night at Pacific Coliseum. He was up and about Thursday at the Ladner Leisure Centre, eating lunch and watching his teammates practise.
According to Tvrdon, he will probably require surgery once the cause of the blood clot has been determined.
“Maybe in one week or two weeks, when they find out everything, I'll have surgery and after that I will take some pills and I can probably go home,” he said.
This marks the second time in his three seasons with the Giants that Tvrdon has been unable to complete the year. In 2010-11, he appeared in only 12 games before requiring major shoulder surgery. He appeared in 60 games last season and collected 74 points. This season, he had 22 points in 18 games.
“Not a good three years here,” he sighed. “But when I played, I tried my best. It's pretty good fans here and I really liked it here so that's why I stayed. I liked it so much.”
Giants head coach Don Hay conceded it was an unfortunate turn of events for both Tvrdon and the Giants' family.
“It's a tough day,” he said. “Marek's health is the most important thing.”
Team captain Wes Vannieuwenhuizen admitted the players were concerned when they heard Tvrdon had been taken to hospital.
“It was one those things that kind of happens out of the blue,” said Vannieuwenhuizen. “Something starts to hurt, you go get it checked out and, unfortunately, it was as severe as it was. I think everyone is just happy that it got taken care of and that he's safe now and feeling better. The guys were worried for him a bit there. You never like to see a teammate in that kind of position.
“It's very unfortunate because Marek loves to play the game, right? We all love it here and whenever you get that kind of news, it's really hard because this is your whole life.”
The Giants, who sit last in the WHL's Western Conference at 6-13-0-0, will welcome back winger Cain Franson for Friday's home date, 7 p.m., against the Regina Pats (Sportsnet Pacific, Team 1040). Franson has missed eight games after being hit in the head by Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Tyler Yaworski on Oct. 24. Yaworski was subsequently suspended for three games. Franson has six goals in 11 outings.
“Cain's been cleared so he'll be in Marek's spot and he'll have to produce like he did before he was hurt,” Hay said. “Other players will get a little bit more of an opportunity."
G-NOTES: Rookie Payton Lee, 16, will start against the Pats, his fifth straight since being permanently recalled from the Junior B Richmond Sockeyes … Lee and fellow 16-year-old Thomas Foster, a forward, have been selected to play for Team Pacific at the 2013 under-17 hockey challenge Dec. 29-Jan. 4 in Drummondville and Victoriaville, Que. … Veteran netminder Liam Liston, 19, remains out with an ankle injury.
On Twitter: Twitter.com/elliottpap
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun