Joni Pitkanen, who last played hockey in 2013 for the Carolina Hurricanes, will return to the ice after an incredibly difficult, three-year recovery. Karpat of the Finnish Liiga announced Friday that Pitkanen will join the team in Saturday’s game.
The team announced that after practicing with the team for a while, Pitkanen has signed a contract for the remainder of the season.
Pitkanen, playing for the Hurricanes at the time, shattered his heel in a race for the puck on an icing call in 2013. His injury was one of the major reasons for the rule change on icing in the NHL. The recovery was constant and prevented him from skating for a long time.
Pitkanen is a veteran of 535 NHL games and was a very effective defenseman for Carolina, Philadelphia and Edmonton. He’ll return against KalPa in domestic play on Tuesday, but hopes that all goes well enough that he’ll be able to play in the Champions Hockey League championship on Tuesday against Frolunda of the SHL.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.