PEORIA, Ill. -- His stay may only be temporary, but Jason Doig recognizes his hockey career has come full circle.
And the towering defenceman has a hard time believing it's been 10 years since he made his professional debut with the Winnipeg Jets.
"I was talking to my wife about that," said Doig, signed to a pro tryout offer by the Manitoba Moose on Friday. "Isn't it ironic that I'm coming back to Winnipeg? It's great though, I have good memories of Winnipeg. It's a great hockey town and it was a special time, playing some games in the NHL as an 18-year-old in what was the Winnipeg Jets' final year of existence."
The feeling really hit home for Doig when he arrived in Peoria on Friday and shared a cab to the rink with Moose general manager Craig Heisinger.
"Zinger was the trainer in Winnipeg then, look how things have changed," said Doig, who broke in with fellow 18-year-olds Shane Doan and Deron Quint. "Coming to camp, I was not expecting to make the team. In the first game, Teppo Numminen was my defence partner and I scored a goal against the Dallas Stars, I believe it was on Andy Moog. It was quite an amazing year. I played only 15 games because of some health problems and I went back to junior. You look back on things now and realize how much you really didn't know and how you were in awe of everything that was going on around you. I was really fortunate to have that experience."
Doig skated with his new teammates for the first time yesterday morning but won't play his first game until Wednesday, said Moose head coach Alain Vigneault.
After attending training camp with the parent Vancouver Canucks, Doig is hoping to show enough to get himself an NHL deal.
"Things obviously didn't go as planned in camp because I got hurt," said Doig, who hurt his shoulder and played in only one exhibition game, against the Edmonton Oilers. "It gives me an opportunity to come down here, play five games and basically do what I would have done if I had played (more) exhibition games."
Being able to play is more special since Doig suffered a serious injury to his right wrist as a member of the Washington Capitals during the 2003-04 season.
"There were 15 games left in the season and it was a bad injury, a complicated surgery and a year-and-a-half recovery," said Doig. "I wasn't able to play in Europe or somewhere else like other guys and that kind of puts you in a bad position to get a contract. Teams are skeptical, especially in the (salary) cap world now and they don't want to make mistakes because there's not a lot of room for error."
Doig says he had several two-way contract offers on the table before training camp, but figured he'd try to nail down a one-way instead.
"In the worst-case scenario, you get injured in camp and that's what happened to me," said Doig. "But here I am and now I have an opportunity to play some games here. This is a good league. A lot of guys, when they come down to the minors, they feel a little bit negative about it but I'm excited to be playing. I have a great outlook on things."