Brock Boeser to have wrist surgery, will miss World Juniors
GRAND FORKS — Brock Boeser just scored five goals in an October sweep against Bemidji State, but his right wrist was hurting.
He played the next week against Minnesota Duluth, but had a massive ice bag taped to his wrist after the games.
Since then, week by week, the wrist got worse and worse, and Boeser's production dropped.
North Dakota finally shut him down on Thanksgiving week to try to see if rest would help it heal for the second half of the season.
But that didn't work either.
That finally led to Boeser having wrist surgery on Wednesday in the Twin Cities.
The bad news: The operation ends Boeser's hopes of playing in the World Junior Championship — the grand event that showcases the best under-20 hockey players in the world. Boeser played last season and won a bronze medal.
The good news: The operation is expected to get Boeser back to 100 percent and UND is planning to, next month, see the guy that racked up 60 points as a freshman and led the Fighting Hawks to the NCAA national title.
"The biggest thing is making sure Brock is 100 percent healthy for the second half of the season," Berry said. "The whole first half he was battling it. He tried to play through his wrist injury and was getting to a point where needing some rest, we thought, would be the best thing for him. It wasn't progressing to where we wanted it to be or where he wanted it to be.
"Knowing we had a break right now where we could rectify that, a minor surgery is in order for him to do that. It's unfortunate that he doesn't get to play in the World Juniors because of that. But I think there's a more important focus here for him to get totally healthy for the second half, where we need to make a push."
It is believed that the wrist injury is something that Boeser had been dealing with since the start of the season, but it got progressively worse.
"Sometimes, when you're the player he is, you try to play through things and get to the point where it's not getting any better, it's getting worse," Berry said. "He tried to do that. That's why over the last few weeks, he sat out, trying to get better. But it didn't get to the point where we wanted it to."
Berry said that adrenaline often carried Boeser through the weekends, but he had trouble the first couple of days of practice the following week.
It showed in his production.
In the first five games of the season, Boeser had six goals and 12 points.
In the next eight games, Boeser had one goal and four points.
The exact timeline of Boeser's recovery is unknown, but UND says it expects him to play in January.
The next game on the schedule is Dec. 31 at Union.
UND will be without both of its NHL first-round picks for that one. Boeser (Vancouver Canucks) will still be on the mend. Jost (Colorado Avalanche) will be with the Canadian World Junior Team.
The World Junior medal games are Jan. 5. UND plays at Omaha on Jan. 6-7.
While it still may be a longshot for Boeser to play that weekend, Berry said the team has already lined up flights for Jost to fly straight into Omaha on game day, and Berry says he will suit up Jost that night against the Mavericks.
Berry, who won a World Junior gold medal himself in Helsinki, Finland, in 1985, went through the same routine. He flew back overseas and played in UND's next game.
"You don't have a lot of gas, but you have a lot of adrenaline," Berry said. "You're happy to be back playing with teammates and you're playing on adrenaline."