Gamecock Mike Verschuren lingers in the player’s entrance for a pat on the hat from his family | Other Sports
Ice hockey player Mike Verschuren (30) is indispensable to Eindhoven Kemphanen, who lost 2-5 to Tilburg Trappers-2 in the Premier League on Saturday. He only made one trip to New Zealand. “One of the best decisions of my life.”
When the buzzer announces the first break of a home game, Kemphaan Mike Verschuren often skates off the hockey rink with beaming eyes. He doesn’t head straight for the locker room yet, but stops halfway to the players’ entrance. There, his girlfriend Lilly and his one-year-old daughter Lexie are waiting for him – for a short chat, a hug and a patting on the hat. “They usually watch the first period. Much longer is not really possible, because then our daughter will be too tired. I think of them when I score. »
Verschuren (30) is now unavoidable in Kemphanen. He once started in the footsteps of his brother, was part of all national junior and senior teams and is considered one of the most important players in the first division team. Head coach Larry Suarez sometimes wonders why Verschuren doesn’t play abroad at a high level.
West Auckland Admirals
That’s why coach Suarez convinced him five years ago to try such an adventure abroad. It was not the least destination: Verschuren went to New Zealand, where he had his chance at West Auckland Admirals. A Bulgarian player canceled at the last minute, freeing up a spot with the champion candidate from the island’s biggest city. “One of the best decisions I’ve made in my life,” says Verschuren resolutely.
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,,The matches had full stands and a lot was paid for us. We flew to away games because everything was so far away. If we played in another city, we were sometimes allowed to stay two more days at the hotel to discover this city. We were free outside of our training and competitions. Then we went snowboarding somewhere or nature reserves for volcanoes.
Laugh: ,,But the weather is also quite extreme. When it was raining very hard, I sometimes thought: it’s not going well. It turned out to be normal.
Two concussions in New Zealand
In his only season, Verschuren came out on top with his team against record holder and great rival, a club south of Queenstown. He finally played six months with the West Auckland Admirals, he did not know the last championship – two concussions ended his stay in Oceania prematurely. “I often think back to that time.” He still has the Admirals jersey at home.
Two cruciate ligament injuries
It is not obvious that Verschuren is still on the ice hockey field at the age of thirty. Seven years ago, Verschuren suffered a cruciate ligament injury. Shortly after returning to the rink with confidence, he tore the cruciate ligament in his other knee. His second rehab was complicated by complications, which forced him to spend another two weeks in hospital.
Playing ice hockey abroad is no longer an option, says Verschuren. The focus is on his family and his eyewear store, Eye Optix Junior, which specializes in children’s eyewear. “I like working with children and I have always given ice hockey training to young people.”
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