From the better-late-than-never file…
I was able to catch up with Jon Francisco over the phone last weekend. The first captain in team history was not an easy man to get because he did not have a traditional end-of-season meeting with Karl Taylor at the same time as his teammates. That’s because Francisco missed the last four-plus months of the season after undergoing multiple knee surgeries.
After our chat, I figured I was the only person in the city of Ontario who’s had a hard time catching up with Francisco. Read on:
Do you know if you’re going to retire or not?
I thought I did. At the beginning of the season I thought I was healthy, I thought I was able to finish it out the way I wanted to. I didn’t. … Sitting in the stands, I watched the season unfold the way it did — it was tough.
Where did you actually watch the season from?
I kind of made my way around (the arena). Even though I was injured, to mingle with the people who helped make a career for us, it was important for me to say ‘thank you’ and talk to them.
Was that your idea?
For the most part. The team never pushed me to do anything.
What did you do in the community?
Career fairs, talked to schools. I was able to be a lot more involved. I did promos, helped raise money for schools, helped a school and a church with a fundraiser. That’s a benefit of the position we’re in. … I enjoy spending time talking to people, learning about people’s lives and they like hearing what’s happening with me. I’ve met a lot of people through hockey.
Where are you in the process of deciding what’s next for you?
I’m still weighing the pros and cons. It’s a major surgery. It’s not a short rehab — six months to a year. It depends on if I’m able to play, for one, and two, if the team wants me back. If I can’t be an effective player, I don’t want to be there.
Do you think you were effective when you were healthy this season?
Yeah, I feel I was able to.
Is your goal to be healthy in time for training camp, then, in case you decide to come back?
I don’t know. Rehab’s going slow. It’s not coming the way I want. A lot of bone-on-bone action in my knee still. I need to build up the cartilage. I do three times/week rehab in town.
So is that all your decision will come down to — your health and if the team wants you?
Health, if the team wants me, and financially for my family. We’ve been able to make it work so far. If it’s the right situation and the starts and moon align.