Comets Tales: T.J. Hensick Enjoys His New Address
by Don LaibleMar 31, 2016
There are a number of reasons why T.J. Hensick is happy to be wearing Comets colors.
Hensick is truly of the present.
Back on March 9, Hensick was added to the Comets roster when he was reassigned to Utica by the Carolina Hurricanes. In exchange, the Vancouver Canucks reassigned Blair Jones to the Charlotte Checkers roster. Being "swapped" for another player late in this, or any hockey season, for many could be a confidence killer for many different reasons.
While playing with a team for three-quarters of a season already, bonds have been made, friendships forged, and routines established. For Hensick though, the uprooting couldn't have come soon enough.
"I'm excited to be in Utica,” expressed Hensick. “I was lacking confidence in Charlotte, My game wasn't what I wanted it to be."
At the time of changing teams, Hensick, after 46 games with the Checkers, had been scoring at a lower pace than his career average in previous AHL campaigns. During parts of the past nine seasons in the NHL's top development league, Hensick has registered 60 points or more five times.
Through 46 games with the Checkers this season, Hensick had only collected 25 points (7-18-25).
"I wasn't really caught off guard,” Hensick said about being assigned to the Comets. "My agent called, he said there might be a swap (for me) involving Utica, would I be interested? I said yes, and about a half hour later Carolina's general manager called, thanked me for my contributions to the organization, and wished me well."
The excitement felt by the four-time AHL all-Star remains fresh today.
"I wanted to wake up my career,” Hensick, who on March 18 skated in his 600th professional game (112 NHL 488 AHL) said.
Setting up shop with the Comets represents a clean start for Hensick, regardless if three quarters of the season is history.
"You always have to be ready. I haven't played much in the east,” told Hensick. “(Utica) has given my career new life.”
There is a rarely seen human-side of things when athletes are traded. In most cases, when a player changes teams mid-season, they have to report to their new city immediately, and leaving family behind to deal with the real-life consequences of being traded.
When Timothy James Hensick learned that he would be joining the Utica Comets, plans had to be made concerning his growing family. This is when the support system surrounding him kicked into action.
"My son’s first birthday was six days ago in Charlotte," Hensick proudly said minutes after the Comets went to a shootout at The AUD with the visiting Binghamton Senators. "We (Checkers) were about to go on a 17-day road trip so my mother-in-law was already on her way from Florida to Charlotte to help out. This (coming to Utica) came at the right time all around."
Hensick is quick to credit his wife for being the "glue" of the family.
"She's an awesome supporter,” said Hensick.
Plans are for T.J.'s family to join him in Utica within two weeks. Logistics can be, and usually are difficult, at best, for athletes' relocation.
For Hensick, an NCAA All-American at Michigan, he is a glass is half full kind of guy when changing teams. Since the 2007-08 season, Hensick has packed up and worn nine different jerseys including MODO of the Swedish Hockey League.
"It's fun moving," proclaimed the Comets' center. "At the same time, day by day, it's a new adventure."
With the many additions to the Comets' roster in March alone, being the 'new guy' has been made easier.
"It helps for sure, Hensick told. "There are a lot of guys in the hotel. It's tough right now for my family in Michigan, but the fresh start here makes it easier.”
Written by Don Laible