And the award for best summer vacation story…

…goes to recently re-signed Reign defenseman Chad Starling.

Starling, who is spending this summer in his native Delisle, Saskatchewan, said he ventured up to his uncle’s property in Canada’s Northwest Territories, where he had to carry a unique piece of cargo when he went running.

“You have to run with bear spray,” Starling said. “Either that or run with a rifle over your shoulder.”

More pertinent to hockey, Starling said he is full recovered from the thumb surgery he had performed at the end of the season and has already resumed full workouts — earlier than he’s been able to each of the past two summers. Last year, after making a Kelly Cup title run with the Cincinnati Cyclones, Starling had to have surgery on his elbow, thumb and knee. He had surgery on the opposite knee the year before, and is on schedule to be in optimal shape when the season starts in October.

“I’m a lot stronger from lifting already,” he said.

More details on Starling and David Walker re-signing in this morning’s editions.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.