SUN Hockey Pool

Van Massenhoven out for the playoffs

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

For the first time in nine years, Don Van Massenhoven will be watching the Stanley Cup playoffs rather than refereeing in them.

The Strathroy native, a veteran NHL referee, hasn't fully recovered from knee surgery he had during the Olympic break.

He had hoped extensive rehab would allow him to get back in time. Unfortunately, Van Massenhoven is home in Strathroy and will have to wait until next year to get a shot at doing his first Stanley Cup final.

He's worked the playoffs the previous nine seasons, including playoff series and seven conference finals.

"You always hope you can crack the Stanley Cup final. That's everybody's goal," Van Massenhoven, 49, said.

But the knee injury ended any hope he had of that happening, at least for this year.

Van Massenhoven, who earlier this season worked his 1,000th NHL game, hurt his right knee in St. Louis in the final game before the Olympic break.

"I never experienced issues with the right knee. I had arthroscopic surgery on my left five years ago but my right has always been good," he said. "I thought I only tweaked it the last game. But the next day flying home, it was very painful and stiff so I knew it was worse than just a tweak. I went to Kennedy-Fowler and they confirmed it was a meniscus tear in two places.

"There was some hope it would settle down because sometimes that happens and you can get through the pain and finish if it doesn't lock up. But it locked up. You can't bend your leg. You can't compete on it."

Van Massenhoven was in Florida during the break and had the surgery done there.

"The prognosis for the knee was that it could take six weeks to get better and it is getting better but it's just not good enough to go back now with how the game and the speed is," he said.

Morris Dalla Costa is a Free Press sports columnist.

E-mail morris.dallacosta@sunmedia.ca


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