Kelowna’s Jeff Thorburn has been given the opportunity of a lifetime.
Thorburn, the head athletic therapist at UBC Okanagan, has been named one of two athletic therapists who will accompany the Canadian men’s hockey team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” said Thorburn, in a recent interview with Castanet News.
“I was a little surprised when I got the initial phone call.”
Thorburn did not apply for the job. He believes the contacts he made with Hockey Canada through events while he worked with the Kelowna Rockets helped him get noticed.
Hockey Canada called Thorburn about a month ago expressing interest in using his expertise at the Olympics.
He said they had to work out some details, including getting the necessary time off from UBCO for not only the Olympics themselves but pre-tournament evaluation camps and training camps.
With the NHL’s decision not to participate, players mainly playing in Europe will be asked to make up this year’s squad.
Those hopefuls, along with Thorburn, will be in Sochi and St. Petersburg, Russia for club tournaments later this month.
“That’s the first segment of the evaluation process for the players, and obviously it gets us working and gets our hands dirty right off the bat.”
Thorburn will be responsible for all aspects of injury care and prevention as well as physical preparations for practice and games.
“We do our best work trying to keep the players in the best shape possible.”
This will be Thorburn’s first trip to an Olympics in any capacity.
He’ll have a busy schedule but will try and make a point of taking in as much as possible.
“I hope to be able to take in some of the grandeur of the Olympics. It’s an amazing spectacle.”