With the hype of the NHL Draft fully in the rearview mirror, Avalanche first-round pick Joey Hishon can now focus on simply playing hockey.
He already proved last year that he’s a tough player after skating for a game and a half on a broken foot. Now, with Colorado’s training camp in full swing, he’s trying to show the Avalanche staff what he’s made of.
How did your summer shape up after being drafted? What have you been up to the past couple of months? “I actually worked out with Ryan O’Reilly and stayed at his house during the weeks. I had a great summer of training and skating, so I’m ready to go here and have a good, competitive camp.”
Has being drafted motivated you to approach your offseason any differently than in years past? “I’m a pretty motivated kid as it is, but obviously with that in the back of your mind all summer it gives you something to look forward to. It’s something that makes you work extra hard, so yeah, I think it did push me quite a bit.”
I know you’ve probably talked about it a lot, but do you still have to pinch yourself when you think about being drafted by the same organization that one of your best friends plays for? “That’s a dream come true really and it’s a pretty cool thing. I honestly didn’t think it would ever happen. The chances are pretty slim that we would go to the exact same team a year apart. I don’t know, I guess it’s a blessing.”
You have to be pretty excited for the season to start, especially since last year had to be a little disappointing due to the injuries you suffered. “Definitely. I didn’t have a great year last year, but that’s something that’s in the past now and I don’t think about it too much anymore. Things healed up great and I can’t wait to get things started.”
Can you talk a little about that foot injury you suffered? You finished the game after breaking your foot, right? “I played the rest of that game. We were in the United States actually and I couldn’t get an x-ray right away. I actually played the next game too, until the third period. In the third period I couldn’t handle it anymore, so I stopped. But I played probably about a game and a half with my broken foot.”
And you even scored the game-winning goal, right? “In the game that I got hurt I scored the winning goal. My foot was pretty sore, but it was a great feeling to have that happen.”
Did you know it was broken when it happened, or did you realize when you took your skate off after the game? “When it first happened my leg was twitching and I said to my trainer that I thought it was broken. He said to make sure not to take my skate off, because it would swell up huge. I left it on for the rest of the game, and after the game, just like he said, it ballooned up. That’s when I was pretty sure it was broken.”
After the season, were you at all concerned that the injuries might affect your draft status? “Yes, I did think they would. I played only 36 games last year and I was hoping it wouldn’t hurt me, but in the back of my mind I had those negative thoughts that it might. It didn’t end up hurting me at all, and I couldn’t be happier with where I went.”
Is there a player in the NHL that you look at and say, “That’s the way I want to play”? “I think Derek Roy from Buffalo is a pretty similar player to me. If I can be as good as he is someday, that would be quite an accomplishment.”
Tell us a little about how you became associated with your charity, “Hishon For Hodgkins” “A girl from my hometown got diagnosed with cancer about halfway through the year last year. I talked to my media director and got it set up so one of my dad’s good friends, who owns a construction company in Stratford, would donate money to the cancer society for every goal I scored and assist I got. I ended up raising a pretty good amount of money.”