Watch above: d-man Nelson Nogier back on the ice after missing last 36 games of 2013-14 season with shoulder injury
SASKATOON – Sunday night’s preseason game in Edmonton had extra meaning for Saskatoon Blades defenceman Nelson Nogier.
It was the local boy’s first game in eight-and-a-half months.
“It was a little bit different. I was nervous for the first couple of shifts believe it or not,” admits Nogier.
“But it slowly came back to me and I felt good as the game went on.”
Nogier suffered a season ending shoulder injury Dec. 15, 2013 in Edmonton, the same place he just made his return to action.
“Obviously sitting out the last 36 games of the year I was trying to see what aspects of the game that I wasn’t seeing from the ice level and trying to bring that into my game here as I tried to work on it over the summer.”
Nogier has played 96 career WHL games. He has one goal and ten assists from the Blades blueline over those games.
The stay-at-home defenceman brings a lot more to the table than those numbers would suggest.
“He’s an 18-year-old guy but I think he’s way ahead of that,” says Blades head coach Bob Woods.
“He’s definitely a leader of our group and that’s important.”
Despite playing just 37 games last season, the WHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year was selected in the fifth round by the Winnipeg Jets in the NHL draft this past spring.
Nogier will soon be off to his first ever NHL training camp, where he hopes to learn a lot.
“Just the confidence level and just kind of see what experience the older guys have,” Nogier said of his upcoming trip.
“You just pick out the small things and as a young guy coming into a camp like that I just got to be a sponge and take everything in that I can.”
Jets main camp begins in three week, while the team will send many their young prospects to the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, B.C. Sept. 12-15.
The Blades continue their pre-season schedule Friday in Prince Albert against the Raiders. The two teams meet again the following night in Warman.