ST. PAUL — Carson Soucy was among the handful of Wild players who returned to TRIA Rink last week. It marked the first time in what felt like forever that the 25-year-old defenseman from Canada was back on the ice with his teammates.
When the NHL halted the 2019-20 season on March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic, Soucy already had spent nearly a month away from the team as he recovered from a wrist injury.
Needless to say the timing of everything couldn’t have been much worse.
“I think I was cleared to skate the day after we all got shut down,” Soucy said. “I was just gearing up to get back on the ice and then this whole thing happens and I’m not allowed to skate for another few months.”
That made his return to TRIA Rink that much sweeter last week. He spent most of the self-quarantine period in his hometown of Irma, Alta., and returned to the Twin Cities about a week ago as the NHL has started to allow small group workouts.
“Just to be skating back in Minnesota with a couple of guys, it made it feel more real,” Soucy said. “It made it feel like playoffs are coming.”
That’s his main focus as he preps for training camp — which is supposed to open on July 10 — and what he hopes is the resumption of games sometime next month. If play does in fact resume, the Wild will take on the Vancouver Canucks in the preliminary round.
In the meantime, Soucy is trying his best to remain cognizant of the coronavirus pandemic, especially considering some NHL teams already have experienced outbreaks since returning to their respective training facilities.
“You’ve seen it go through other teams,” Soucy said. “I’m definitely a little nervous about getting it. We want to take all the precaution we can and we are doing a great job at the rink testing almost every day and stuff like that. The hope is it doesn’t go through our team and none of us get it around here.”
As for day-to-day life inside TRIA Rink these days, Soucy mentioned how it’s “definitely different” than before. He noted how everyone gets tested in the morning and is expected to wear a mask when they aren’t on the ice.
“I think we are going to have a bigger group coming (later this week),” he said. “It will definitely bump up the intensity a little.”
It’s still unclear when exactly the 2019-20 season will resume. No start date has been set as of Tuesday afternoon, and the NHL still hasn’t selected the pair of hub cities in which games will be played.
There have been reports that Edmonton is a frontrunner, which would be ideal for Soucy considering it’s only a couple of hours away from his hometown. Not that his family would be able to attend games.
“I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit,” he said. “It kind of makes sense, too, because they’re pretty sheltered from a lot of the cases. It’d be interesting. It’d kind of be weird, though, being that close and not really being able to see any family or anything.”
If anything is clear, simply by talking to Soucy, it’s that he’s committed to playing if everything goes according to plan.
“That’s kind of the main goal right now,” he said. “Just to play at whatever cost and try to finish the season.”