Portland Winterhawks captain Brett Ponich will undergo surgery on his left knee Thursday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and could miss the remainder of the season. The surgery will be performed by team doctor Mark Colville from Rebound Orthopedics.
“Brett is one of the premier shut-down defensemen in the league and the anchor of our defensive corps. He will rehab in Portland and will continue to provide the same leadership that he has brought the last several seasons,” said Portland Winterhawks General Manager & Head Coach Mike Johnston. “With his determination and commitment to training I wouldn’t be surprised if he was back in a Winterhawks uniform before the end of the playoffs.”
“As evidenced by our record the last several weeks, I’ve been very impressed with how our defensemen have stood up and filled in both in minutes and assignments,” continued Johnston. “We’ve felt our depth has been one of our strengths this season, and we’re confident that our young players will continue to step in and perform in his absence.”
Ponich suffered the injury January 18 in Portland’s 5-4 overtime win at home against the Tri-City Americans. In 45 games this season Ponich had 12 assists and ranks third on the team in plus/minus at +23.
Ponich has played 249 games over five seasons for the Winterhawks, with two goals and 45 assists for 47 points. He was drafted in the second round, 48th overall, by the St. Louis Blues in the 2009 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Ponich suited up in two preseason games for the Blues this season.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)