It’ll be exactly a month and two days since the first year pro and Seattle, WA native forward Garrett Van Whye laced up a pair of skates in game action but the 25 year old is looking forward to returning to the ice this weekend in the first three and three this weekend against the Maine Mainers.
“Obviously, it’s a little frustrating, only being able to play first two weekends, and then getting a little banged up, but the road to recovery has been strong, just going in and working my tail off to get better and off the ice get that shoulder healthy and strong enough this weekend for the three in three”.
Van-Whye after four years at the University of Michigan was ready to go pro and his dream came true after the NCAA season came to close last April, it didn’t take long for the New Jersey Devils and General Manager Tom Fitzgerald and head coach of the Utica Comets Kevin Dineen to come calling.
Van-Whye lost to Denver on April 7th 2022 in the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four Semifinal in overtime 3-2. Seven days later the center was playing in his first professional hockey game against the Belleville Senators.
“A lot of it comes from the publicity that we were getting their in Michigan, I think that helped me as well with my developmental and my opportunity and I was able to get to talk to Tom (Fitzgerald), Mr. Fitzgerald, he you know really liked my game, I just wanted to be able to prove to myself but to him and the organization that I can play the way that they need me too, and be that two way forward can you know, put some pucks in the net”.
As October rolled around after being apart of New Jersey Devils Prospect, Rookie, Training Camp and then headed to the American Hockey League Garrett Van-Whye was the final one cut from the Utica Comets roster before the AHL season began on October 14th as he was set to begin his professional career in Glens Falls.
“I haven’t heard of Glens Falls before this but I’m really happy that I have now. I think this is a beautiful city, the mountain ranges are just unbelievable, you know the fans here, that atmosphere that i’ve been able to be a part of you know in the stands is unbelievable it’s crazy, it’s been electric in there, so keep that up”.
“It was a joint decision between myself and the coaching staff and management sending Garrett to Adirondack, a first year pro, wanted him to get a lot of touches, ice time, really develop his game, that hasn’t been the case with his shoulder injury but we left the door open for him to return to the American League before the season was over, pretty much left that with everyone who’s on an AHL deal, including the guys like Rivera, Vidmar, Corson those guys who were signed to help out in the ECHL for Coach MacArthur, you see how the organizations been hit with injuries from top to bottom, you just never know who we’re going to need, I think that was the case with Jake (Theut) who’s played well in Adirondack lately. He deserves his shot and will be here past Wednesday, maybe, depending on what Lindy’s needs will be”. – Kevin Dineen on Garrett Van Whye and beyond.
Van Whye agreed, saying that he thinks he just wanted him to play more.
“You know Coach Dineen I think he just wanted me to play a little bit more, I think I would’ve been in and out of the lineup, they have a very strong team up their in Utica, he wanted me to play a little bit more so I got the opportunity to play here”.
Garrett Van Whye will be playing in sixth professional game as he returns from Injured Reserve on Friday evening, his fifth as a member of the Thunder. The 25 year old will be looking for his first professional point and in search of his first professional goal.
It will be interesting where MacArthur fits the former Blue product in the lineup. The biggest question is will he be an extra and take it easy or will MacArthur put him on the power-play and the first, second and third line with Vidmar or Corson or Smith. His other linemate Billy Jerry is no longer with the team.
The Thunder host Maine, Friday and Saturday night at the Cool Insuring Arena before heading to Maine on Sunday kicking off their three game road swing against Norfolk. As I type this, Adirondack has not signed another goalie for the weekend and the road-trip. I believe they are hopeful that Theut comes back to them before they travel, however the team will be coming back to Glens Falls before flying to Virginia on Monday afternoon.