Former Michigan Tech Husky, Tanner Kero, was hoping to play his way back onto an NHL roster for the fourth time in his professional career prior to the A.H.L stoppage. He was in the midst of helping the Texas Stars fight there way into playoff contention after a slow start to their year.
“Early on, we went on a 12 game losing streak. So, it’s not the ideal way to start the season. But then we started to play better and we were on a pretty good run there towards the end of the season. We ended up, I think we were only one point out of the playoffs when everything got put on hold.” said Kero.
The end would come on March 11th when the Stars would take the ice for the final time against Colorado.
“The elevation change, you’re getting used to that a little bit. But I think we were playing very well too and kind of playing the way we wanted to play going into the playoffs and then, you know, afterward is when we get that news that the full shutdown. You know, you’re expecting to get on the plane and head to Tucson after, and then, all of a sudden, you’re back on the plane heading to Austin waiting to find out what’s going on.”
After a short waiting game. Kero decided it would be best to head back to his hometown of Hancock.
“So we had a call with our G.M. and they just said basically if you want to go home, you can go home, if not, stay. So we decided we were just going to stay in the meantime because it was only going to be a week’s delay. Then, they changed it to May 1st. So we’re like ‘All right, we’re not going to sit around here when everything is getting closed down.’ We would rather be back home and be with family and be stuck up there if we’re going to be stuck at all.”
The NHL is still aiming to complete its season this summer or fall, teams are preparing to carry several extra players from their AHL teams as emergency replacements. Kero’s been trying to stay in shape just in case his number gets called.
“We’ve been doing some workouts a little bit slower right away. As much as you could do at home. But then, I was able to go borrow some equipment from our trainer up here. I ordered a bike and a squat rack and as much stuff as I could get that wasn’t sold out online and set up a home gym here. We have a cement slab basketball court in the back so I can rollerblade back there and ordered some synthetic ice to put in the garage so I’m able to at least set up a net and shoot and, you know, stay as much in hockey shape as I can without fully skating on the ice.”