NEVADA REPORT Vegas native Atchison learning, Jr. Golden Knights’ 12U AA team developing in WHL rookie season to play prestigious Quebec event By Matt Mackinder
By Matt Mackinder
ast summer when the Spokane Chiefs signed Erik Atchison to a Western Hockey League contract, Chiefs GM Scott Carter said the Las Vegas native impressed him at the team’s training camp to the point where signing the 2002 birth year was the only option. And now in the home stretch of the season, Atchison has seen to it that Carter made the right move. “From a personal standpoint, the season has been great, but I want to get more points on the board,” Atchison said. “From a team standpoint, we have a fantastic great group of guys and a great team.” Atchison was originally selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round (94th overall) of the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft. As a talented American player, Atchison had to decide at a young age if he wanted to pursue the NCAA route or take the Major Junior path with Spokane. In choosing Spokane, Atchison said he has zero regrets. “I really just loved the pro style of the WHL,” said Atchison. “I liked how many games they play there, how much it’s like the NHL and how good the players are in the league.” A graduate of the Las Vegas Outlaws and Storm programs back home, Atchison also developed with the Arizona Bobcats AAA program in the Phoenix area. “Hockey has grown like crazy in Vegas,” Atchison said. “The teams are way better than they were when I played there.” It was in Nevada, however, that Atchison got the itch to get on the ice. Down the line, Atchison has lofty goals in mind. “Short term would probably to be a 20-goal scorer in the WHL and be a main guy and long term, I want to play in the NHL,” Atchison said.
he beat goes on for the Vegas Jr. Golden Knights’ 12U AA team. First, the squad won a regional Silver Stick championship in December. And recently, it was announced that the team will participate in the prestigious Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament from Feb. 13-24. This will mark the first time a Vegas Jr. Golden Knights club will travel to and play in the tournament. “We are proud to represent the Vegas Golden Knights - and all of Las Vegas youth hockey - in the Quebec International Pee-Wee tournament,” said Golden Knights director of hockey operations Misha Donskov. “The Quebec International Pee-Wee tournament is world class - there is not another youth hockey competition around like it. The number of NHL players who have played in the tournament is impressive and we hope to one day see Jr. Golden Knights names listed alongside these current and former NHL stars. We are grateful for Cirque du Soleil’s support in helping make this trip possible.” Thanks to the partnership with Cirque du Soleil, the club’s travel and tournament expenses will be significantly reduced. “As a company founded in Quebec and now thriving in Las Vegas, Cirque du Soleil finds it rewarding to come full circle and support our Vegas Jr. Golden Knights Pee Wee AA team as they compete in our homeland,” said Cirque du Soleil VP of marketing and PR Lou D’Angeli. “Having been a member in the Las Vegas community for more than 25 years, we take great pride fostering the talent in our youth.” The Jr. Golden Knights’ Pee Wee AA team is comprised of forwards Tyler Atchison, Casey Berninger, Jessie Brewer, Jack Lackas, Chayse Laurie, Finn McNabb, Chase Nehring, Caden Ross and Colin Spencer; defensemen Trevor Abele, Connor Beers, Carson Craig, Daniel Maddison and Kaden Mulcahy; and goaltenders Austin Neill and Logan Perez. Head coach Kevin Mulcahy is joined on the bench by assistant coach Bo Lackas and the team manager is Kevin Atchison.
FROM THE TRAINER’S ROOM Looking at hockey MCL injuries – what to expect, how to treat T
he medial collateral ligament in the knee, or MCL, was the second most common injury in NCAA hockey in 2013 as stated by Grant, Bedi, Kurz, Bancroft & Miller. The study showed that only concussions had a higher injury rate in male collegiate players. The MCL is one of four ligaments in the knee and is located on the inside or medial portion of the knee connecting the femur and Chris Phillips tibia. The ligament’s purpose is to provide support to the inside of the knee helping prevent a valgus or inward movement of the joint. This ligament can be injured when a player is either hit from the outside of the knee, placing an inward force on the knee, or when the player pivots or twists the knee and the skate sticks into the ice. Though MCL injuries can be painful and debilitating, they rarely require surgery to repair them. Since the MCL is located outside the joint capsule, unlike the ACL and PCL, it typically gets decent blood flow and heals fairly well. Recovery time usually ranges between 2-8 weeks to a full recovery. As the ligament heals, the rehab should be focused on linear or straight forward movement that does not place any inward force on the knee. The unfortunate thing here is that skating and shooting does place this type of force on the knee and will be one of the last phases of rehab. Once linear exercises and drills can be performed, lateral movement can be introduced. As these exercises and drills become pain-free and there is no feeling of instability, the athlete can typically return to the ice and slowly integrate back into playing again.
Chris Phillips is an athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist with over 20 years’ experience in professional hockey, football and soccer. Chris is the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Orange County. CARubberHockey.com
The February issue, featuring the One Step Sharks on the cover, has hit the streets!