By Suzie Cool (@SuzKewl) | Published on April 9, 2020
Defenseman Zach Redmond is currently in the midst of his ninth season in professional hockey and his third with the Rochester Americans, a team he’s been a reliable and steady presence for on the blueline since coming over in a trade prior to the 2017-18 season.
With 133 games played at the NHL level and nearing the 400 mark in the AHL, it’s no surprise that the veteran defenseman has seen time in 59 of the 62 games that the Amerks have marked off their calendar so far this year. That was until the season came to an abrupt and unexpected halt over arguably one of the craziest things that’s ever happened within Redmond’s career, which as we know, has seen its fair share of unforeseen obstacles over the years.
At this point, we’re all too familiar where we were and what we we’re doing the exact moment when news broke about NBA start Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID-19.
For the Amerks, it was Mar. 11, another Wednesday night in Rochester pitting the Amerks against the Binghamton Devils in a crucial divisional matchup at The Blue Cross Arena. After a 5-2 loss, the guys headed into the locker room with a mindset to regroup and refocus before their next face-off come Friday night against Syracuse.
But to their surprise, they had no idea what the next 24 hours had in store for the entire world of sports.
“I can only speak from my experience, but at that time nobody really knew how serious to take this. It was one of those things that until it hits home it’s hard to really understand or take as seriously as you need to.”
Not even a day later, all it took was one positive test to shut down the entire sports world within a 24-hour span for an unforeseen period of time.
“You just never see anything like this ever happen in sports or life in general. This sort of thing has happened in the past, but you just think with where science is at this day and age that this is just not a reality,” stated the reigning Eddie Shore Award winner when asked about his initial reaction to the shutdown of every professional sports league over the course of a day’s time.
It’s been close to a month since the AHL decided to put the 2019-20 season on hold, meaning that most of the players have returned back to their offseason homes over the past couple of weeks. Redmond, of course, headed back to Traverse City, Mich., where he’s taking time to reconnect with family and friends while spending quality time with his soon-to-be one-year-old, Mae, and wife, Maggie.
On top of ample family time and reorganizing the household, Redmond has a nice gym setup back at his home in Michigan as well. With hopes that the season does return, the veteran defenseman has taken little time away from the gym but looks to get right back to it in the coming weeks to be game ready if and when needed.
As the days go by, though, it only makes the nine-year pro and two-time AHL All-Star miss the game and the competitive atmosphere more than anything during this unprecedented time. And understandably so, considering where the Amerks were in the season as they were eyeing their third straight postseason appearance.
“The season was really starting to come down to the end. It seemed like we had divisional game after divisional game lined up and we were right in the thick of things and then it got shut down. I miss competing, being around the guys, and it’s a game I’ve always loved, so to be without it is definitely tough,” said Redmond, who last season rewrote Rochester’s history books by snapping a 46-year-old franchise record for the most goals by a defenseman in a single season.
There’s no doubt that Redmond isn’t the only one missing hockey here in the Flower City as the Amerks’ 2019-20 season remains on pause until further notice. All we can do is continue to promise you all that the Amerks players are more than looking forward to getting back into game action as soon as they’re given the go-ahead – hopefully sooner rather than later.
From Redmond to Rochester, he’ll leave you all with this message for the time being.
“There will be more hockey played. It’s just a waiting game at this point and we’re all looking forward to when it starts up again. For now, we all need to find positives in our day that can turn this negative event into a positive and I just hope everyone stays safe, healthy and patient for more hockey.”