By Ryan McCracken on September 7, 2017.
Obstacles arise, plans change. Unfortunately, both have been the case for Ty Schultz.
The 20-year-old Medicine Hat Tigers defenceman will not be returning to the team this season due a myriad of reasons stemming from an injury-ridden 2016-17 season, but hockey could still be in the cards for Schultz.
“It kind of took us by shock because it was supposed to get a little better but things just weren’t progressing so he doesn’t think he can play this year,” assistant coach Joe Frazer said, adding Schultz still has his sights set on professional hockey. “He’s been talking to a KHL team, the (Kunlun Red Star) in China, so that’s kind of up in the air … He’s over there right now and getting treatment. He doesn’t know if he’ll play this year though, he thought it could be another two or three months of treatment.”
Schultz’s season took a turn in early January when a slap shot to the leg resulted in a broken bone and forced him to the shelf for 10 weeks. The New Westminsterm, B.C. product never truly returned to form before the off-season arrived. But the break may have been the least of Schultz’s worries, as Frazer says a nagging groin issue has been sticking with Schultz through the off-season.
“A lot of people don’t know but last year in the whole second half he was really battling with a lower body injury and through the summer he wasn’t really progressing or getting any better,” said Frazer. “His plan the whole summer was to come back.”
Schultz has family in China and is staying with them while seeking treatment and communicating with the Kunlun Red Star. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound blueliner finished his final season as a Tiger with three goals, 18 assists and a plus-21 rating in 44 games — closing out his 187-game WHL career with eight goals and 42 helpers.
Schultz’s departure also helps clear up Medicine Hat’s overage situation. While Michael Bullion, Brad Forrest, Kristians Rubins, Zach Fischer and Mark Rassell all remain with the team, only Rubins, Fischer and Rassell were present for Medicine Hat’s leadership meetings prior to training camp.
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