Cyclone Hockey’s Alex Grupe returns after broken arm

Cyclone Hockey sophomore forward Alex Grupe looks for the puck during the Illinois State game Friday night. The Cyclones would go on to beat the Redbirds 4-2.

Connor Ferguson

Alex Grupe was on the ice for Cyclone Hockey training camp in September 2016, and during a scrimmage, Grupe went to block a shot from Mark Wishman. 

The puck broke Grupe’s forearm, but he didn’t know it at the time.

“I thought [that] maybe it was just a bad bruise,” Grupe said. “I went to the trainers. I didn’t get any ice for it.”

Grupe played in an exhibition game against t`he Huntsville Havoc that weekend, tallying a goal. 

“Alex is a good, honest teammate,” Cyclone Hockey captain Chase Rey said. “He’s the kind of guy you like to have in the locker room and he brings a positive energy both on and off the ice. He’s not afraid to hold you accountable and that’s what any team needs.”

He practiced that week like any other, later checking out a career fair before a practice. He was going from booth to booth, taking in the information from each. But he noticed something was off.

Every time he shook hands with somebody, he could feel pain. He wanted to get the injury checked out by a doctor.

“They first told me it would be 4-6 weeks [before I got back on the ice],” Grupe said.

However, upon getting the X-rays back, he received some bad news.

“After I saw the fracture, I knew it would be longer,” Grupe said.

The senior sat out for the first semester of the season.

“It was a little gut-wrenching,” Grupe said. “It’s senior year, obviously I wanted to play as much as possible.”

He started rehabbing the injury.

“He may not have been able to use his wrist,” Rey said. “But he was still on the ice every day skating and being involved wherever he could be.”

Rey knows first hand what it is like to have to come back from an injury. He had surgery on his shoulder after his freshman season that put him out for the first half of his sophomore year.

“[Grupe] hasn’t allowed [the injury] to effect his play,” Rey said.

Grupe came back to play his first game of the season when the Cyclones faced Illinois.

“Because the season was so long I was able to return to start preparing for playoffs now,” Grupe said.

The team lost, but not without the efforts of the Illinois native. He was able to score a goal and looked like one of the more dominant players on the ice in his first game back.

“Its his last semester of his senior year,” coach Jason Fairman said. “It was nice to see him have a good game because I know How important it was to him, and how hard it was to do all the rehabbing to get back to this point.”

Grupe’s forearm is finally completely healed and he is playing on a regular basis.

“He finds a way to stay relevant and get back in the lineup,” Rey said. “That’s what you like to see out of a guy like him. He deserves [to be back].”