If Brad Power had a toonie for every time he took a puck to the mask he’d have a few dollars tucked away in the bank.
Power, a 19-year-old Corner Brook native, recently returned to the crease for the Corner Brook Royals after suffering his second concussion since discovering a love for stopping pucks 13 years ago when he was coming up through the ranks of the Corner Brook minor hockey system.
Power’s latest episode goes back to November when he was playing for a team in the recreational hockey league as a way to keep him on top of his game and help prepare for his second season with the Royals.
He was sliding across the crease when he took a Matt Colbourne one-timer to the chin area of his goalie mask.
He went down in a heap. He didn’t feel right so he erred on the side of caution and headed to the dressing room because he was dizzy and had a nagging headache.
“I knew something was wrong. I didn’t feel right,” Power said Thursday afternoon. “The boys were saying I was right out of it in the room, so I just took my gear off and sat down until I felt good enough to go home.”
He had been on the sidelines for two months before being cleared to play again, so he wasn’t a happy camper not being able to do what he loves to do.
He had been through the concussion process a few years back when he banged his head on the post during a high school hockey game. That knock to the noggin saw him out of action for four days and it was considered a mild concussion so he was pretty relieved it wasn’t more serious.
This time around, he admits he was scared because it took so long for him to get better.
He went to the doctor the following day and was told he had a mild to moderate concussion and he would be off skates for anywhere from two days to two weeks.
However, even though the persistent headaches eventually subsided, he wasn’t right in the head and decided to get a second opinion. He saw a specialist who recommended a two-month layoff, and he followed the advice.
He strapped on the goalie pads for a recreational hockey league tilt to see how he felt before taking the crease for the Royals. He needed to know how his mindset was going to be getting back in there after the shot to the mask.
He had some anxious moments, thinking several times about getting hit again, but it slowly went by the wayside as the game went on.
He came back a night later to take the crease for the Royals and he feels fine now.
He said going through rehabilitation made him more aware of concussions and how so many people are concerned about concussions in the game. More importantly, he felt the exercises he went through to get better allowed him to be more effective when it came to tracking pucks.
Concussions have been one of the hottest topics in the hockey world for a number of years. Players are getting hurt and some are fortunate to come back with no ill effects, while others are messed up to the point they can’t return and the game is over for them.
Power knows there is a risk factor in standing in front of pucks coming at you from all angles at high velocity.
However, he also knows a goalie should expect pucks to the face and anybody who doesn’t probably won’t hold down the position for very long.
He’s happy his head is right. Being a goalie is one of the best things in his life and he wouldn’t want anything to take it away from him.
“I just love it. I just love stopping pucks. Ever since I was a kid I always wanted to be a goalie,” he said.