How­den makes re­turn

Tribe cap­tain back on ice af­ter miss­ing cou­ple of weeks with up­per-body in­jury

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - SPORTS - RANDY PALMER

smiles on the kids’ faces.”

That pop­u­lar­ity comes from a very valid place — not only has How­den played with the team the past four sea­sons, he’s emerged as one of the top play­ers in the Western Hockey League with 95 goals and 216 points in 215 ca­reer games. That in­cludes the 10 goals and 24 points he’s racked up in 16 games this sea­son.

In ad­di­tion, he’s be­come one of the faces of the fran­chise through his con­stant work in the com­mu­nity. As a re­sult, get­ting rec­og­nized on the street is a com­mon oc­cur­rence for play­ers like him­self and his fel­low mul­ti­ple-year veterans.

“It’s pretty cool. Our team are role mod­els in this town, we’re well known and it’s re­ally fun to go around town and see the odd kid or fan rec­og­nize me,” How­den said. “It’s pretty cool that the town fol­lows the team that much that they rec­og­nize us.”

That How­den was back in prac­tice on Thurs­day was es­pe­cially pos­i­tive given he re­turned from in­jury dur­ing Tues­day’s con­test against the Saska­toon Blades. The up­per­body ail­ment oc­curred when How­den took a hard hit dur­ing the Canada-Rus­sia Se­ries game at Mo­saic Place on Nov. 6.

“It’s never fun to be on the side­lines and when you’re un­able to be in that same set­ting as them, it’s re­ally up­set­ting,” How­den said. “So you try to do ev­ery­thing you can to try and get back into the line-up.”

The in­jury bug has been a con­sis­tent is­sue over the last month, with sev­eral of the team’s top play­ers find­ing them­selves side­lined for mul­ti­ple games, with oth­ers bat­tling through mi­nor in­juries just to stay in the line-up

It’s some­thing gen­eral Alan Mil­lar ac­knowl­edged dur­ing the press con­fer­ence an­nounc­ing the War­riors agree­ment with Mo­saic Place ear­lier Thurs­day.

“I don’t know if I can truth­fully sit here and tell you I’d thought we’d be 19 and 5, es­pe­cially with the in­juries we had,” Mil­lar said. “(Stand­out de­fence­man) Josh Brook hasn’t played a game, Brett How­den has missed eight of our first 24 games and as you know, we’ve been re­ally banged up on the back end. We just came through a stretch of seven games in 12 days with a lot of in­juries and came up six and one.

“We’re pleased with where we’re at, we have a process that we built on from last year in De­cem­ber in a seven game se­ries lost to Swift Cur­rent.”

That process con­tin­ues Satur­day as the War­riors look to win their fourth game in a row and ninth of their past 10 when they host the Prince Al­bert Raiders (7 p.m., Mo­saic Place).

“I’m re­ally ex­cited to get go­ing this week­end again,” How­den said. “We have a lot to im­prove from the Saska­toon game, I know we came out with the win but that’s not how we want to play. So we’ll be bet­ter and hope­fully come out with an­other win.”

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