Mark Mink proudly displays his misshapen finger.
After breaking it several years ago, he allowed the injury to heal on its own, rather than seek medical attention. He can take it he”s a hockey player.
The junior forward has been out of action so far this season because of a broken hand. This injury didn”t have him especially worried, either.
“There wasn”t a whole lot of pain,” said Mink, who had competed in 86 consecutive games before this season began. “It swelled up a bit, but I still had some movement.”
With the swelling subsided and the pain almost completely gone, Mink will return to action for the Wolverines this weekend.
“I hope that (Mink”s return) will mean a lot to this team,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We need all the experience that we can get on those forward lines.”
But the journey back to the ice was a struggle for Mink.
Shortly after the cast was removed but before the swelling had gone down, he tried to convince Berenson that he was healthy enough to play in the “Cold War” against Michigan State.
“Coach shook my hand ,” Mink said, “and he almost broke it again.”
After this experiment, the coaching staff opted to sit Mink during the big game.
“Obviously, I really wanted to play (against Michigan State), but I just wasn”t ready,” Mink said.
He returned to practice last week with a new resolve, but his body just wasn”t prepared for the grind.
Mink was left off of the traveling roster for the Maverick Stampede this past weekend in Omaha.
“It was my call,” Mink said. “It was borderline, and I wanted to go on the road. But we decided that it would be best for me to rest it and be ready for the CCHA season.”
While his teammates were traveling to the land of cornfields and Big 12 football, Mink and just three other teammates were left in Ann Arbor.
Mink followed the action in Omaha by listening to the radio, but during the third period on Saturday night, his reception went out.
“The last I heard it was 2-2 and we were doing well,” Mink said. “So when I looked on the internet later (the 3-2 loss to Minnesota-Duluth) was kind of disappointing.
One Wolverine will be especially glad to see Mink return forward John Shouneyia.
“It”s a great feeling to have him back out there,” Shouneyia said. “He is excited to be back on the ice and I am excited to have him back on my wing.”
The two juniors have been playing hockey together for seven years. During their time at Michigan, Shouneyia estimates that they have been on the ice together at least 75 percent of the time.
“I”ve definitely missed him a lot,” said Shouneyia, who has just one point this year after finishing third on the team in scoring last season. “We really know where each other are on the ice.”
In addition to the sixth sense the two forwards have developed, their styles also match up well.
“Mink is pretty much a shooter, and I am pretty much a passer,” Shouneyia said. “We work well together. If I can find him, I know that he”ll bury it.”