A year ago it seemed Red Deer’s Tanner Lomsnes’ hockey career had come to an abrupt end.
In his second season with the Niagara University Purple Eagles, he blocked a shot that broke his ribs and sliced his liver. It ended the 23-year-old’s eason with the NCAA Division I team only after 18 games.
“When I got hurt there was people telling me I should hang up the skates, but I didn’t want to do that,” Lomsnes said.
After a vigorous rehab, Lomsnes stepped back on the ice this year for his third season with Niagara.
In 16 games, he has 12 goals and 17 points. He is tied for sixth in goals in the country and 36th in points.
The great start to the year is especially satisfying knowing how tough last year was, Lomsnes said.
“What I went through last year made me stronger … I didn’t have hockey, and hockey was my whole life so it challenged me in different ways.
“It was tough sitting in the stands watching all the guys play because you want to be out there. The first couple of months, I couldn’t really do any activity. I was kind of bed ridden,” Lomsnes said.
On Dec. 5, Lomsnes was named NCAA player of the week.
“It’s a nice feather in the cap for sure, but it’s more important to me that the team’s doing well,” he said.
The Purple Eagles sit just one point out of first in the Atlantic Hockey Conference, with an 8-3-1 conference record. The team has a 9-6-1 overall mark and is in the top 20 NCAA rankings for the first time in four years.
The team is playing for each other and believing in the system, said Lomsnes.
“We’d like to get into the national tournament, but we don’t think too much ahead – just one day at a time. But I think the sky’s the limit with this team,” he said.
Lomsnes said he’s proud to have come from a place like Red Deer. He said Central Alberta hockey hopefuls should consider looking at college as well.
“Most guys’ goal is major junior hockey, so I hope to show other players there’s a different avenue to the NHL if that’s their ultimate goal,” he said.
Lomsnes said he isn’t too focused on what lies ahead for his hockey career.
“Obviously most players dream of playing in the NHL … and to play pro hockey is probably my goal, even if it’s overseas or in the minors. But helping Niagara win the championship is my goal right now,” he said.