Photo credit: Kyle Mace/Sweetest Hockey On Earth
Word broke on Thursday that the KHL’s Avangard Omsk and former Hershey Bear Ryan Potulny have agreed to terminate their contract together. The soon-to-be-29-year-old Potulny signed a two-year deal with Avangard late in May, but things changed quickly after he got hurt in a recent preseason game against Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
From Avangard’s official blog, here’s the latest:
Ryan Potulny has left our team. He suffered a severe shoulder injury and he’ll need surgery. It’s one thing to play for a team, be present for all the team’s functions, get to know the KHL (a completely new league for him), and Russia (a completely new country for him). But it’s an entirely different situation to be in another country and not be a part of any of that.
“During the scrimmage against Metallurg Magnitogorsk in Fussen [Germany] I suffered a shoulder injury,” said Potulny. “The examination showed that I need surgery and rehabilitation that will, according to club’s doctor, take a long time. Of course, coming to the club I understood that during my adaptation to Russia I would be playing for Avangard all the time. I was ready for that, but the situation has changed. I’m injured and won’t be able to play in the KHL.”
It appears the former Bear knew he would be homesick without playing hockey and decided to leave the country altogether. Both he and Avangard parted on good terms; the club will finance his surgery and rehab, while Potulny has relinquished the salary that he was eligible to receive during his recovery. The contract termination also allowed Avangard, already at the foreigner limit imposed by the KHL, to sign Slovak defenseman Ivan Baranka on Friday.
Potulny’s agent Vladimir Hudacek also told Sovetsky Sport his client may return to the club in the future.