Dakota Odgers is learning patience is a virtue.
He is itching to start his rookie season with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos, but has to wait for his shoulder to recover from surgery.
“It’s a frustrating situation, but injuries are a part of the game,” said Odgers, who was the Broncos’ 24th overall draft pick in the 2011 WHL bantam draft. “This shoulder injury goes back to around Christmas when I was playing with the Harvest. My shoulder popped out of place around then and it kept on doing that later on. So I decided I needed to get the surgery in summer to repair it.”
Odgers believes he won’t be ready to join the Broncos until early December. Until then, he is trying to get in shape for the season, but it hasn’t been easy with him at least a month away from being ready to hit the ice.
“It has been difficult to get ready for the season,” he said. “I can’t skate right now and won’t be able to until October or so. But I am on the bike a lot and am eating healthy. I’m staying in shape and am just gradually taking more steps in my rehab.”
This is the second time Odgers’ rookie season with the Broncos has been put on delay. The first time, however, the 5-foot-11, 187-pound winger was in control of the situation. He chose to return to Yorkton to play for the Harvest last October after making the Broncos because he felt it would be better for his long-term development to eat a lot of ice time and a play a bigger role in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
“I’m comfortable with my decision (to return to Yorkton),” said Odgers. “I thought it was the right move for me. I played a lot for the Harvest and am happy with the opportunity I got.”
In hindsight, Odgers’ decision seems to be a smart one. He not only had a great season with the Harvest, scoring 12 goals and 47 points in 38 games, but he also went onto win an SJHL championship as a call-up with the Yorkton Terriers.
“It was a great year to get to win a championship and really grow a lot as a player with the Harvest,” he said. “Winning a championship with the Terriers has to be the highlight of the year. Not many people can say they won a title with their brother (alluding to winning a SJHL championship with eldest brother Johnny Odgers).”
Odgers, however, did get a taste of the Dub near the end of the season. After the Regina Pat Canadians knocked the Harvest out of the playoffs, he joined the Broncos in their first-round playoff series against the Calgary Hitmen.
“It was too bad we couldn’t find a way to beat the Hitmen, but it was a great experience,” said the Spy Hill native who is the son of former NHL forward Jeff Odgers. “It showed me what to expect for this season. The players are bigger, stronger, faster, and more talented in the WHL.”
Swift Current seems to be a perfect fit for Odgers’ 17-year-old season. He will receive opportunity to succeed because they graduated some of their top forwards and he’s going to a team with a strong enough core to make some noise in the playoffs.
“It is kind of the best of both worlds,” he said. “They have some great players and will be looking for guys to step up and fill some of those holes. It’s a good situation to be in.”