KAMLOOPS — Jordy Bellerive is on the ice with his Team WHL mates, but it's a moment he didn't know would be possible after a tragic accident this summer that burned 12 per cent of his body.
"It was pretty tough. Right when I got to the hospital, they were giving me timelines like a year or so they thought I'd be out of hockey," said the 19-year-old captain of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. "That's obviously pretty tough to hear as a young player who just wants to be on the ice. It was hard on me, but I made a decision that I was going to get myself out of there as soon as possible, and that's what I did."
In June, Bellerive and some of his Lethbridge Hurricanes teammates were enjoying a campfire when it exploded. While some were okay, others like Ryan Vandervlis was badly burned and still hasn't returned to game action.
Bellerive hasn't missed any time and is back with Team WHL as it kicks off the Canada-Russia series in Kamloops. Bellerive says the burns to both of his hands haven't affected his ability to handle the puck.
"I wouldn't say it's affected me, it's just a different approach than how I was handling things before," he said. "You just find different ways around it. That's what I've been doing. It seems to be working out okay."
The 19-year-old captain of the Hurricanes has eight goals and 11 assists through 16 games so far. Team Canada head coach Tim Hunter says Bellerive was supposed to come to the selection camp and play in the World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops before the accident.
Despite not playing, however, Hunter wanted Bellerive wanted him around the team.
"What we wanted is to make sure we got him to the summer camp, regardless of him going on the ice, so he could go through what the other players are going to go through," said Hunter. "Then for him personally, to get back around a hockey environment, back around his buddies and get back in that environment."
Following the accident, Bellerive was contacted by former Canuck Aaron Volpatti, who went through a similar accident playing with fire while with the Vernon Vipers in 2005 and went on to play in the NHL.
"Yeah it was pretty cool," noted Bellerive, who appreciated the conversation with Volpatti. "It's a pretty unique situation, and any time there's someone like that who's been through something like that you have, it's pretty cool to relate."
Bellerive hopes to continue his recovery on the ice by earning a spot on Team Canada.
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