A broken ankle and subsequent surgery has sidelined Garden River First Nation product Nate Headrick for the balance of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League season. The big defenseman had signed with the Blind River Beavers as a free agent earlier this month and had an assist in six games while playing regular minutes.
A 6-foot-3, 200 pound, 19-year old defenseman, Headrick was accidentally injured in a routine play during a Beavers home game with the French River Rapids on February 13.
Beavers general manager and coach Kyle Brick told Hockey News North that Headrick had “come a long way in a short period of time since he started skating with us on the outdoor rink in the Sault during the (Ontario government) shutdown.
“I feel just sick for Nate,” Brick added. “He really liked playing here and he really fit in on our team. We really liked having him. He was doing a good job for us. The guys have been texting him and supporting him and I can tell you without a doubt that we want him back with us as a 20-year old next season. Hopefully, when he is able to get around a bit he’ll come back to Blind River and spend some time with the team this season. We’d love to have him be around the team.”
Prior to signing with Blind River on February 1, Headrick hadn’t played organized hockey in almost two years, last suiting up for the St. Mary’s Knights high school team in Sault Ste. Marie. Before that, Headrick was a good, solid defenseman for the Soo Jr. Greyhounds of the Great North Under 18 Hockey League.
The loss of Headrick leaves Blind River — which is in third place in the West Division of the NOJHL — with just five regular defenseman. But Brick told Hockey News North that 20-year old forward Dakota Seaman will see some action on the Beavers blue line with Headrick sidelined.
“He’s big and tough and he can fire a puck,” Brick said of the 6-foot-2, 195 pound Seaman, who has averaged just over a point every two games this season.
Nate Headrick (middle) of the Blind River Beavers, in action against the Soo Thunderbirds. (photo by Bob Davies)