Photo courtesy of Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament
Former Prince George Cougar and Smithers product Dan Hamhuis wants to get back in the lineup for the Nashville Predators.
The 36-year-old has four assists in 53 games this season but has been out of action the past month due to a nagging knee injury.
As for when he’ll suit up again, Hamhuis told My Nechako Valley Now it will be fairly soon.
“I am getting close, I have been skating full out now in practice with the team and the next step is getting into a game and we’re targetting one of the two on the weekend.”
Nashville plays in Pittsburgh against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Friday followed by a home date on Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After playing the last two seasons with the Dallas Stars, Hamhuis elected to return to Music City USA where he began his NHL Career, which has spanned 1,084 games over 15 seasons.
He believes Nashville has become a desirable market not only for him but for many of the players.
“It is a great place to live, it’s easy, great for families and the young guys on our team really enjoy it. It is also a great place to visit and the organization has been first class right from the start.”
As for the city itself, he’s noticed a shift in attitude since he left to sign with the Vancouver Canucks in 2010.
“The city has changed too, it has grown up a lot, the organization has grown up a lot and the expectations on the team have also changed so it’s been fun.”
Last summer was met with some uncertainty for Hamhuis who was unable to come to terms with the Stars and when contract talks broke off, he was left with no choice but to sign with another team, which proved to be a lot more difficult than anticipated.
“I guess at this age I am at, it is not a popular age for general managers, signing guys over the age of 35 can be a bit of a risk and they may want to take a look at their young guys. The phone was not ringing off the but we had a few quality teams that we’re asking and in conversations with.”
After making the decision to return to Nashville, Hamhuis believes his career has come full circle.
“I was a young guy coming into the league and my career has gone a lot of different places since then, I had a great six years playing in Vancouver, a couple in Dallas and now back again.”
Hamhuis was a member of the Canucks team who fell in seven games to the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
Hamhuis was the final guest of the season on the Cat Scan podcast with My Nechako Valley Now sports director Hartley Miller.
The former Cougar standout also expressed his feelings about being a long-term part owner of the Prince George Cougars and keeping them in the northern capital.