The Reign opened training camp Friday and, for the first time, Chris Curran wasn’t there.
When healthy, he was one of the most consistent players in the Reign’s brief existence.
“When healthy” is the crucial phrase there — were it not for injuries that ultimately ended his professional hockey career, Curran would probably be in Ontario right now.
The 27-year-old was an agitating forward who built his game on blocking shots, winning puck battles and make punishing body checks. Some of that was lost after he broke his femur crashing into the end boards in the final game of the 2008-09 regular season.
“It was a really tough mental battle; coming back from something traumatic was a battle itself,” he said in a telephone interview from his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario. “The way that I play, I put everything into it – block shots, play the body, do anything for the team. This year after my femur break I didn’t feel quite like myself.”
Curran played the entire year with screws in his femur, which he had surgery to remove at the end of the season. He also endured bone chips in his right leg and ankle, the result of blocking a shot. Then during a March series in Alaska, Curran broke his nose after taking a high stick to the face, which required surgery and a full visor for the remainder of the season.
“I tried to have (surgery) done when I was awake,” he said. “That didn’t go well. So I went under on a Thursday (March 18) prior to a three-in-three weekend series and played the next three days.”
The season was so physically challenging that Curran said he is still home resting before he decides what’s next in life. The only plans he’s made are to stay in the area of Missisauga and Toronto, which is 17 miles east.
Curran has no regrets.
“I truly do feel satisfied with my hockey career and it ending in Ontario,” he said. “I had an awesome experience, great fans, met a lot of good people. I’ve accepted it. I have to look after my body now.”