Forgotten Knight staying positive

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

Frank Rediker cried when he blew his knee out for a second time on Nov. 26.

It wasn't the pain that had him in tears, it was knowing his season was finished and there would be no Memorial Cup for him.

"I cried because it was the same feeling I'd felt before and I knew it probably wasn't going to be good and that my season was going to be done," Rediker said yesterday as he sat in an empty John Labatt Centre after his teammates had practised and were on their way back to their hotel.

Rediker, 20, from Sterling Heights, Mich., said there are times he feels like a London Knight in name only. He's not staying at the hotel during the Memorial Cup, but rather with his billets. Some days, because of his therapy, he's lucky if he sees the guys.

He's not even listed on the lineup or announced as a scratch.

"Obviously, you don't feel a part of it as if you're sitting in your stall playing and practising. You kind of feel left out," he said.

"Staying with my billets and not at the hotel is not what I expected. They have reasons for everything, but it wasn't explained.

"I found out by reading a (rooming) list in the dressing room (before the Cup began). I wasn't on it. Obviously, they want the players who are playing to be in the hotel and they don't want any outside distractions. They've got reasons and that's good enough for me.

"I go to some of the team meals. I'll go to the practices and the games. I try to be around as much as possible, but I'm at therapy for two, three hours a day and working out and staying pretty busy."

Rediker had returned to the lineup Oct. 15 following off-season knee surgery and the Boston Bruins' fourth-rounder was excited about the promise of this season.

He played in just 16 games before going down again.

Rediker tried to get into a fight behind the net and when he jumped into the air, he landed awkwardly, tearing his knee. He wasn't wearing a protective brace.

"The doctor said there was no reason to wear it," he said. "I did the first few games, but it was pretty big and bulky and I didn't like the way it felt, so after the fifth game, I took it off. I probably should have worn it."

The Knights had high hopes for Rediker when they acquired him from the Windsor Spitfires in January 2004 and he had high hopes coming to this team.

"I knew career-wise it would be a great move. Last year, London had one of the best teams and this year, we knew we would be hosting the Memorial Cup. I figured I would get a full season under my belt and I was real excited. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.

"I've had my ups and downs. A couple of days after, I was pretty shaken up, but people around me helped me get through it. Some day down the road, it will be a little bit clearer, but I can't dwell on it. I've got to stay focused on getting 100 per cent.

"If I'd got hurt two or three weeks ago, I think it would have been harder because I would have been counting on playing in the Memorial Cup. But it happened five months ago, so I've had lots of time to think about it and I've known since the beginning of December I probably wouldn't be able to play.

"But the opening ceremonies before the first game, that was the hardest thing, not to be out on that ice."

If the Knights win the Memorial Cup tomorrow, Rediker plans to be on the ice wearing his sweater for the celebration and team photo.

"Hopefully, I'll get a ring."


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