Friday, February 08, 2013
Hounds' Grix all heart on, off the ice
After all, about 18 months ago, that quite literally almost wasn’t the case.
During his senior year at Waterford Mott High School, Grix started having chest pain and waking up a lot at night before one day passing out in class.
“I was taken to the hospital to have some tests run and after a week of tests, the doctor told me I had a hole in my heart and I'd probably never play hockey again,” said Grix, now a 20-year-old goaltender for the Hartland Hounds. “The only chance (to play hockey again) was to have surgery. I underwent three surgeries (July, August and September 2011) and every time, I would get worse news saying the hole is bigger then they thought. Finally, my doctor, parents and I decided it was best to just go to open-heart surgery (on Sept. 29, 2011). They told me it ended up being the biggest hole on record (the size of a fifty-cent piece).”
The surgery went well and shockingly enough, so did rehab.
“The day after my surgery, I was back up and walking which was a major surprise to my doctors,” Grix said. “I was out of the hospital in four days and I went back for a check-up the next Monday and surprised the doctor even more by how fast I was healing.”
As for hockey, well, so much for never playing again. Grix beat those odds, too.
“I got back on the ice the weekend of Thanksgiving 2011 for just a fun skate with my friends, but waited another month before trying to play competitively,” said Grix. “I started playing with a morning skate with some guys from my dad’s work and began to finally feel like I was getting back into it. After a summer of working with (goalie consultant) Randy Wilson, he told me about the Hounds and I knew this was my opportunity to prove to all the people who doubted me ever coming back and playing competitive hockey.”
So far this season in Hartland, Grix has been the primary backup to Andrew Brownlee, but does have a 3-0 record in seven games with a 1.92 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
”At the beginning of the season, I didn't feel ready,” admitted Grix. “I was shaky and nervous, but since (Colin) Longeway’s hunting accident, I realized I needed to step up and start pushing myself more, but I still don't feel 100 percent just yet, but I'm close.
”Playing alongside Brownlee has been great. He is a great tender and I've definitely learned a few new things and a whole new way to play the game.”
With the Hounds leading the Midwest Junior Hockey League standings, Grix realizes he has the opportunity to potentially be part of something special in Hartland.
”This season has been awesome and it's honestly one of the best feelings,” Grix said. “Everyone talks about us, everyone knows us and it's great. I know I haven't played much, but it's still good knowing that we all contribute as best we can. We all push each other to be the best at practice. It's also great to have coaches that can have fun, but at the same time push us to be our best.”
”My goals for the rest of this season are the same as the first day I signed with the Hounds – to get better and become the best player I can, win a national championship and play college hockey next year.”
Spoken like one who has heart – and a lot of it.
The Hounds (38-0-1-0) host the Rhinelander Street Cats Friday night and Michigan Ice Dogs Saturday night at the Hartland Sports Center. Game time Friday night is 7:30 p.m. with an 8 p.m. start scheduled for Saturday. Hartland then travels to play the GL Lightning Sunday afternoon at noon at the Allen Park Civic Arena.