TORONTO- Carter Ashton has been able to resume playing finally thanks to his team’s equipment manager Henning Aagaard-Svendsen.
Ashton, who missed the last 18 games of the season with a broken bone in his right foot, joined the Toronto Marlies for Game 1 against the Rochester Americans Saturday with a special attachment on his skate to protect the area around his ankle.
Aagaard-Svendsen made the custom piece by heating and molding a plastic guard in the shape of an ankle, adding foam for insulation and attaching it to the outside of Ashton’s skate.
“I couldn’t find a shot blocker to fit my skate so we custom made it just to protect the ankle bone,” said Ashton.
The 22-year-old, who last played Mar. 13th, had been working out off the ice and walking around for the past three weeks, however every time he put his foot into his skate it caused discomfort, forcing him to sit and watch. He started skating Tuesday at practice, unsure if he would be ready to go for the post-season, but after testing the attachment he felt it was time to return.
“It was a frustrating injury because the time line was uncertain,” said Ashton.
“It’s been a long month, tough to watch. So it was good to get out there,” he added.
In his first game back, Ashton saw time on the second line and power play. He picked up an assist as Toronto earned a 6-3 victory, however it was clear to his coach, Dallas Eakins, that it was his first game in well over a month.
“I thought he was rusty,” said Eakins. “He tried hard, which he always does. It’s one thing to practice and another to play. His timing was out of whack but he never gave up.”
Stating that his foot is 100% healed, the special attachment will come off when the club’s order of shot blockers come in.
Game 2 is Sunday in Toronto.