Blackhawks’ Kirby Dach doesn’t regret going to World Juniors as wrist recovery continues

“As a Canadian kid, you grow up dreaming about playing for that team, and it’s even better you to wear the ‘C,’” Dach said Wednesday in his first interview since the injury. “I don’t have any regrets going.”

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Kirby Dach resumed skating with the Blackhawks this week.

AP Photos

After returning to Blackhawks team practices Monday, Kirby Dach spoke Wednesday for the first time since his December wrist surgery.

“It’s good to be back,” the 20-year-old center said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Dach is a non-contact practice participant right now, and admitted the little bumps that inevitably occur in non-contact practice have still made his wrist occasionally sore.

Once that stops being the case —once the pain has fully disappeared —he’ll be allowed to join in contact practices. His cardio and lower-body strength have at full strength the whole time; he rode a stationary bike frequently while rehabbing on his own the past few months. It’s just about getting his wrist back to full strength.

“There’s some movements and things like that, in terms of mobility and strength, that are kind of restricted,” he said. “But the medical staff and the doctors are doing a goodjob of monitoring that...so when the time comes to play, there are no lingering issues.”

Dach’s timeline was originally set at four-to-five months, meaning he’d return in late April at the earliest.

He said Wednesday he’s “a little bit ahead of schedule” but remains cautious, because that optimism could still fade based on “how my body reacts” to the next steps.

Dach was most emphatic, however, about the decision to play in the World Junior Championships.

He was set to be Canada’s captain, but his run was cut very short when injured in a pre-tournament exhibition game against Russia. Even now, he insists he has no regrets about attending the tournament.

“It’s the game of hockey,” he said. “I could’ve gotten hurt in the summer skating with my buddies.

“As a Canadian kid, you grow up dreaming about playing for that team, and it’s even better when you get to wear the ‘C’... I don’t have any regrets going. Once again, I want to say thanks to [general manager] Stan [Bowman] and the Blackhawks organization for giving me that opportunity.”

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