Article reposted from Lethbridge Herald
Author: Dale Woodard
Marty Palechuk’s view will be tough to beat.
As the athletic therapist for the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Palechuk is the newest member of the hockey operations staff and the freshest face on the team’s bench.
“It’s the best seat in the house, the next best thing to playing,” said Palechuk.
It was an injury back in his playing days that altered Palechuk’s career hopes.
“I blew out my shoulder my first year in college and didn’t really know where to turn,” a defenceman with the Camrose College Vikings of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference at the time.
“I had the opportunity to either go into coaching or into refereeing. I respected the therapists and the trainers because they were the ones behind the scenes keeping things going and I decided that was the route I was going to go. A coach in Camrose at college gave me an opportunity when I did blow out my shoulder to take on the role of student trainer.
“Since then, I hit the ground running.”
The Hurricanes elected not to return Carolyn Glover, who had served as AT since 2008, replacing her with Palechuk.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Palechuk, a product of Smoky Lake — northeast of Edmonton — who calls Red Deer home with his wife and two children. “It’s a fantastic organization and a lot of promise moving forward. We have a good core of a bunch of guys and it’s exciting to be back in the Western Hockey League. I’ve spent a bit of time back in Red Deer working at clinics, so it’s always nice to get back to the rink.”
This season will mark Palechuk’s 16th season as a therapist/equipment manager.
“I’ve worked at all level from college, CIS, junior A, Hockey Canada and even sledge hockey,” said Palechuk, whose last stint in the WHL was with the Kootenay Ice in 2010-11 when the team won the league title. “I was fortunate enough to do two years with the Manitoba Moose as a student therapist.”
The experience was an eye-opener.
“It was fantastic,” said Palechuk. ”Whenever you get to work with a pro organization, the standards are so high and now the staff has moved into the Jets organization. It’s a top-notch organization there and they’ve laid a very valuable foundation for myself and standards that I live by both in medical and when I help out on the equipment side. I was very fortunate to have that experience and moving forward it’s helped me to get opportunities like this.”
Though an unfortunate twist in his hockey career, the shoulder injury that forced Palechuk to hang up the blades was an experience he was ultimately able to draw from.
“(I) learned from that because now treating the players I can take my experience from my injuries, since I had quite a few, and tell the players from a personal experience what not to do or what it might look like if they don’t listen to me. I think it hits home a little bit rather than reading out of a text book and saying ‘You have this or you have that.’ When you personalize with the players you can get across to them a little better.”
Palechuk now brings that know-how to the Hurricanes bench.
“It’s a really close-knit group,” he said. “Everyone has been very welcoming and the staff and organization are just top-notch. It’s definitely going to be an exciting season.”