Like the rest of the world, Brandon Sutter’s life was thrown for a loop during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The forward was one of several Vancouver Canucks on the team in April 2021 to test positive for the virus. Sutter was able to finish the season and then signed a one year deal With Vancouver in the summer.
It was not until August when his health began to deteriorate when he began increasing his activity in preparation for the 2021–22 season. Sutter has been dealing with the effects of COVID for a long time and has not returned to the NHL ice since.
Sutter, now 34, is still not at full health, but is starting to think about a return to professional hockey.
“You never know, but I think I’m working my way through this and I see light at the end of the tunnel,” Sutter said Monday. on Sportsnet’s Eric Francis Show,
“I’m able to work again, and just do everyday chores. … I’m skating with the (Red Deer) Rebels two days a week. … I can’t do the things I used to I can’t get it up to the level I need to, but I’m getting better, and certainly hope it’s all behind me by mid-summer. If so, and I feel I’ll give it my best chance to do it.
Sutter is currently a free agent, and his goal would be to sign a professional tryout offer with an NHL team during training camp. The 11th-overall pick in the 2007 draft has 152 goals and 137 assists in 770 games split between the Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins and Canucks.
The New York native cites his children as one of his biggest inspirations for returning to the sport he loves. Sutter hopes to give him a similar experience as he grew up with, the son of longtime NHLer Brent Sutter, who also enjoyed a successful coaching career.
“My kids are now six, four and one, and with COVID they haven’t been around rinks for the past few years, so I haven’t had the chance to share hockey with them the way I’d dreamed of, Sutter said to Francis.
“I want to see him running around the rink like I was a kid. That would be a cool thing… so I’d like to have a year to give it a chance.”
Initially a main source of frustration for Sutter was not being able to figure out what was wrong with his body, as many tests showed no problems. He is still seeing doctors and consulting naturopaths in Calgary. He has also been in contact with Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who himself has been dealing with COVID for a long time.
“You’re not alone, but it’s a rare thing,” Sutter told Francis. “Fortunately, no one else had any bad, long-lasting effects other than me or teammates. … Unfortunately I did. So, just deal with them one day at a time.”
“I’ll just see what my body can do.”