Jordan Borysiuk’s extended offseason has him prepared for 2020-21

Photo Credit: Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels

Jordan Borysiuk didn’t feel quite right at the beginning of training camp last season. A lingering injury that persisted day in and day out was brushed off by the 17-year-old forward from Mannville, Alberta, until it couldn’t be ignored any longer.

“The first symptoms I had of it were basically right at the start of camp in Red Deer,” he said. “It was pretty annoying but there wasn’t too much pain or anything like that, so I thought I was just stiff and sore. But the very first pre-season game against Edmonton, it was too hard on my groin to skate. It just kind of escalated from there.”

Seemingly any time he would try and take a stride, Borysiuk would feel sharp pain in his pelvis. No matter how much rest he would give himself, the pain persisted.

After consulting with the athletic therapist with the Rebels and multiple doctors in the area, a solution still wasn’t fully discovered. A cortisone shot was administered to help numb the issue, but wasn’t a long-term fix.

“After getting the shot I was able to go pretty hard on the ice again, because I didn’t feel a whole lot,” he recalled. “But after that wore off, which was my first game in Swift Current, I went out for two shifts and it was hurting pretty bad, so I knew I was basically right back to square one.”

Acquired from the Rebels on November 8 of last season, Boryisuk was only able to suit up for those two shifts on November 16 against Moose Jaw before he was out of action again.

The news of the trade, which saw Ben King go to Red Deer for Boryisuk, Cohner Saleski and a 2020 third-round pick, wasn’t unexpected.

“I had a pretty open mind about it,” Borysiuk said. “I haven’t really been able to establish myself in the WHL or with any team yet, so I was just hoping to get an opportunity in Swift Current. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out last year because of the injury, but I’m still here so when next year fires up, I’ll be ready to go.”

Originally drafted 48th overall by Red Deer in 2017, Borysiuk had spent the majority of the past few seasons in Lloydminster, playing at both the U18 and Junior A levels. After 16 goals and 28 points in 25 games in 2017-18 with the U18 Bobcats, he started the 2018-19 season with them as well, getting off to a hot start with 13 goals in the first 16 games. He was then offered a spot on the Junior A Bobcats, and finished the year with 12 goals and 16 points in 33 games.

He also got into one game with the Rebels during the regular season and holds the distinction of being the last road player to score a goal at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook, as he scored the Rebels fourth goal in a 5-4 loss to the Kootenay ICE, their final home game before moving to Winnipeg for 2019-20.

After leaving in his Broncos debut, a plan was put in place for Borysiuk to attend physio sessions in Saskatoon with Blaine Whyte. Whyte, who works out of Pro Sport Rehab & Fitness in Saskatoon, has also served as a strength and conditioning coach with the Saskatoon Blades for nearly 30 years.

Borysiuk says Whyte was the first therapist he had spoken to who knew exactly the type of injury he was dealing with, as he had previous clients who were working through the same thing. It was officially ruled as Osteitis pubis, an inflammation where the right and left pubic bones meet at the lower front part of the pelvis.

“He and the chiropractors in Swift Current were really helpful,” he said. “They really made sure I was staying on the right track. It seemed like once I got traded to Swift Current, the ball started rolling in the right direction for my recovery.”

Working out solo in the Broncos gym every day, Borysiuk’s recovery plan involved a lot of workouts centered around strengthening the muscles around the hip flexor to make sure everything worked together in unison.

As with a lot of physio sessions, it was a long process.

“It was pretty small steps it felt like,” Borysiuk said. “Blaine told me he had seen it in a lot of other athletes before, and some of them recover quickly while for some people it took a year. There was a lot of basic exercises involved like squats and band exercises, but making sure they were done the right way to allow the muscles to work the way they’re supposed to.”

While he was able to maintain an upbeat attitude and keep a brave face on during his recovery, Borysiuk admits there were times when it wasn’t so easy.

“There’s really only one way to do it, so I just tried to keep a positive attitude and come to the rink everyday with the mindset of giving myself a chance to get better,” he said. “It would have been nice to be able to go home during the recovery, but I think it was important for me to stay in Swift Current. I had all the help I needed with the therapists and chiropractors, including Blaine in Saskatoon. I also had a great place to stay with the Plewis family in Swift Current, who really helped me a lot as well.”

When the season was cut short, Borysiuk was able to head home to continue his recovery, which lasted another few months before he was finally able to lace up his skates and get back on the ice.

With the 2020-21 season being delayed until early January, the extra time has been a bit of a blessing in disguise for Borysiuk to complete his recovery.

“It was probably sometime in June that I was able to get back onto the ice a few times a week,” he recalled. “But honestly I think I really only felt 100 per cent on the ice probably around a month ago. I know the coronavirus has delayed a lot of things, but for me that really helped because I needed that extra time. When camp was originally supposed to start around September, I was really just starting to get back into things pretty hard.”

There’s still roughly two and a half months before players are expected to report to their WHL cities for training camp ahead of the January 8 start date, but Borysiuk will finally be able to get back into game action in the not-too-distant future as he’s getting ready to head back to Lloydminster to join the Junior A Bobcats.

It was an opportunity Borysiuk felt he couldn’t pass up.

“Dean called me a few days ago and said it would be a good opportunity for me and he supported my decision if I wanted to go there,” he said. “Lloydminster has always been really good to me, and I’m even going to be able to stay with my former billet family as well, so it just seemed like everything about the situation worked out in my favor.”

Borysiuk says he can’t wait to get back onto the ice and rediscover his identity.

“It’s been so long since I’ve played, I feel like I don’t even know what type of player I am anymore,” he said with a laugh. “When I get back to Swift Current, I want to be a two-way forward with some scoring touch. I think that’s the type of player I’ve been in the past and hopefully I can be that for the Broncos. I can’t wait to actually play games with the guys I was sharing the room with every day.”

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