Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Letestu has taken another giant step forward in his recovery from a heart condition.
Letestu was reassigned by the Jets to the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose on a conditioning assignment on Tuesday.
Letestu has been out of the lineup since October after he was diagnosed with myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. At the time, he was expected to miss the rest of the season.
He practiced with the Moose for the first time on Tuesday.
“It’s exciting,” Letestu told Moose-TV.
“When you get that much time off the ice, you want to test yourself. And today was more of a test that I’ve been getting with the smaller skates with the Jets, so to be back out there with all the bodies — a lot of enthusiasm, bumping guys — it was good to test myself.”
The 35-year-old appeared in just seven games prior to the diagnosis. He was held pointless after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent last summer.
“The whole organization has been outstanding,” he said. “Whether it was just sending me home to be with my family during that time to deal with some of the frustration of not playing, but it’s good to be back.
“I think when you get a six-month shutdown, and you come back a little early, there’s some optimism to get to play some games, and there’s an opportunity to do it this weekend — get as many as I can.”
The Moose have three road games in the span of just three days starting on Friday.
Without Letestu, the Jets embarked on a three-game road trip which starts on Wednesday in Edmonton.