WHL Report: Tigers sniper an optimist

Medicine Hat Tigers sniper Hunter Shinkaruk has his eyes set on a world junior camp invite.

Medicine Hat Tigers sniper Hunter Shinkaruk has his eyes set on a world junior camp invite.

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:28 PM ET

If Hunter Shinkaruk didn’t have bad luck, he’d have none at all.

The Medicine Hat Tigers sniper suffered a nasty gash on his leg Nov. 17 in a game against the Portland Winterhawks. He needed 14 stitches to sew it up and will need to spend a couple of weeks as a spectator.

“I can’t really do much,” Shinkaruk said. “If I sweat or anything, I might get my leg infected.

“So, right now, I just have to relax, and, once I get clearance from the doctors, there’ll be a lot of time spent in the gym and on the ice.

“Hopefully, I can use this rest to my advantage.”

The injury came at a bad time as Shinkaruk was trying to nail down an invite to Team Canada’s world junior selection camp.

The camp goes Dec. 11-15 at Winsport Ice & Athletic Complex, which gives Shinkaruk 24 days to recover and get back to full speed.

“I’ll get back a little before that, so hopefully, I’ll have time to get back in a groove before that camp, if I do get the invite,” Shinkaruk said.

Canada opens the tournament against Germany on Boxing Day in Ufa, Russia.

The Calgary product is no stranger to injuries.

He broke his fibia and tibia as a 14-year-old and missed an entire midget season.

“It was really tough,” Shinkaruk said. “It was the third game of the year, and finding out you’ve broken your fibia and tibia, at 14, that’s pretty difficult to handle. But I’ve always been a kid who tries to think positive in every circumstance I’m put in.

“If I could go back and either break my leg or not break my leg, I still would probably break it. It developed me into being a man.”

Shinkaruk certainly got off to the kind of start to the season that will make Team Canada officials sit up and take notice.

The Tigers captain has 17 goals and 35 points in 24 games. He had 23 points in his last 11 games prior to getting injured.

“It’s not the best timing, but it could be a lot worse,” said Shinkaruk, an eternal optimist.

“I’ve gotta look at the positives and make sure when I can bend my leg that I’m ready to go to that camp.”

Whether Shinkaruk ends up in Russia over the holidays remains to be seen.

Either way, he’ll have a smile on his face.

“I’ve had some bad luck with some injuries,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is to stay positive the whole time. I have to look at the bright side of everything in life, because there’s people dealing with a lot worse things than what I’m dealing with right now.”

CANADA LOSES KEY PIECE

Team Canada’s world junior team has already taken a major blow.

Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray has a slight labrum tear in his shoulder and will likely need surgery.

After earning a bronze medal last year, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ second-overall draft pick was expected to be a potential captain for Team Canada. He’ll meet with Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson this week to discuss his options.


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