Alex Stalock possibly went from the highest moment to the lowest moment of his career in a matter of days.
Just three days after grabbing his first career NHL win in his first career appearance, Stalock was stepped on with a skate while playing with the Worcester Sharks. As news of the severity of his injury became clearer, questions about whether or not Stalock would be able to play again were asked.
Early odds did not give the goaltender much greater than a 50% chance of recovering from the injury, but luck and determination helped Stalock back to where he has now been confirmed 100% recovered.
“I can’t believe how far it’s come,” said Stalock. “I think I stepped on the ice for the very first time last training camp, last year. To where I am today, it’s pretty lucky. It’s obviously hard work and I had a great staff around me the whole time. But I feel pretty lucky to be where I am today.”
Stalock was forced to play netminder for three different teams last season while on rehab assignments. In total, 11 games were split between the Worcester Sharks, the Stockton Thunder, and the Peoria Rivermen. The constant shuffle was tough to handle, but something that Stalock is looking to gain from.
“When you go in and you’re hurt already, you’re kind of secluded from a lot of the team stuff,” said Stalock. “You show up the rink every day, but you’re not traveling with the team. You’re not in the locker room during games. You just see them before and after practice. With what happened with moving around with all of the rehab assignments was a little tough too, but it’s probably a good thing to do and get rid of when you’re younger. You go through it and see what it’s like. Then you pack up and move through it if it ever happens again in the future. I kind of used it as a learning experience."
With a stabilized mind set accompanying a healthy body, Stalock is excited about the prospects of the coming season and the chances of his squad. He mirrors any individual goals and expectations to that of the Sharks as a team.
“You set goals personally, but obviously you try to keep the team in it every night,” said Stalock. “Wins are going to come as long as you give the team a chance every single night. We’ve got great forwards up front. Our d-corps coming back is a pretty tough d-corps.”
A day before the Sharks open their preseason schedule and play an opponent other than themselves, Stalock has not removed himself from the highs and lows of the past two years. His successful debut in the NHL and his devastating injury will both serve as motivation and a strong foundation as he strives forward in his career.
“I was lucky enough to get a NHL recall at one point and it’s something, definitely after what happened, that you don’t want to take for granted,” said Stalock. “Some guys have tasted it and some guys haven’t, but once you get a feel for what it’s like, it’s pretty incredible.”