Chad Starling’s goal in his fourth season with the Ontario Reign is simple.
“I want to play every game,” he said. “Last year was the first year I got hurt. The year before that I played every game but one. The year before that, I played every game. In Cincinnati, I didn’t miss many games [11 in two years]. In Utah, I played every game. That’s the first goal.”
The team announced Monday that Starling has re-signed for an unprecedented fourth season in Ontario. He might be the only player from the inaugural team who returns but, ironically, the 30-year-old defenseman has a little something to prove.
Starling did not play a game after November of last season because of groin injuries, and underwent two surgeries in January. Starling almost made it back — and said he would have played if the Reign made the playoffs — but ultimately wound up playing just 14 games, easily the shortest of his 10 pro seasons.
Starling said he’ll be healthy to start the season and plans to resume skating in 2-3 weeks.
Since David Walker is playing in Germany and Jon Francisco’s return from knee injury is no sure thing, Starling could be the last player from the original Reign squad still in Ontario. That could make him the logical choice for team captain, a role he held from 2006-08 with the Cincinnati Cyclones.
More on Starling’s health, his thoughts on the captaincy, and what the Reign needs to do to get back on the playoffs, in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.