Kootenay’s Tutschek Playing the Waiting Game

By Jeff Bromley
On the ice, Kootenay ICE forward Brad Tutschek is used to facing his opponents head on, with his trademark toughness, grit and attitude that have made him a stalwart in the ICE
lineup since he joined the club via a trade from the Medicine Hat Tigers in 1996. Now, the gritty center is battling two opponents he has little or no control over. Father time and the
specter of a nagging shoulder injury that is taking longer than expected to heal.

Brad Tutschek is a twenty-yr-old forward this season and him, along with teammates Dion Lassu, Dean Arsene and Mike Comrie are all subject to WHL rules stating that any team is
only allowed to carry three overage (twenty’s) players on their roster after the November 1st deadline. With the exception of scoring sensation Mike Comrie, one of Arsene, Lassu or
Tutschek will be traded by the Kootenay ICE by this Wednesday or sooner to accommodate the league overage rule.

In a perfect world, it is a decision that ICE Director of Hockey Operations Bob Tory would probably rather not make. For Brad Tutschek, the problematic shoulder injury and the fact
that he hasn’t see any action yet this season has kept the power forward from making Tory’s decision that much harder. “Obviously it’s nerve racking, it has been from day one. I knew
that I probably wouldn’t get into any games before the deadline, if any. I try not to think about it much but whatever happens it will be the best for the team,” said Tutschek.

The training, the therapy, the practices and the inability to get back into the lineup are distressing enough to any player recovering from injury. Add to that the possibility of your
lineup spot not being there when you come back and the stress can mount. If it’s a distraction, the Edmonton native is handling it admirably. “No, I think that I just work (at the recovery)
as hard as I can so I can be in the best shape possible when I come back,” he said. ” I want to be able to play. No matter what, I going to work as hard as I can and try not to think about it
(the deadline).”

Lassu, who along with Tutschek came via the trade route in 1996 from Medicine Hat and Arsene who arrived from Regina a year later have been an integral part of the Kootenay ICE
for the better part of the last four years. Will the inevitable break up of the trio affect the heart and soul of the club? “Whoever gets traded, I think that we are obviously going to lose a
lot, but there’s a lot of character guys in the room that can step it up…. Our team is a tight-knit group and has great chemistry. Some guy will step up and fill the responsibility and role left
by the player leaving,” said Tutschek.

The void left by one of those players leaving will be tough to fill. Lassu and Arsene’s stature and presence on the blueline. Tutschek’s blend of scoring touch and overall toughness
and an immeasurable quality that saw him play through an injury last season that occurred at the ten game mark of the 99-00 season, causing him to only miss thirteen games, including
the long playoff march. Doctor’s will evaluate Tutschek on October 29th and it is possible that he will be cleared to play. Trouble is that the ICE don’t play again after the evaluation until
Nov. 4th, three days past the deadline. It is a Catch-22 situation that hampers Tutschek’s chances of sticking with the club. But if history serves, Brad Tutschek will persevere. It’s
something he’s been doing all along.