(WTNH) – Covering high school sports, Sports Team 8 gets to meet a lot of great people including players, coaches, parents, fans and referees.
Hockey referee Marty Tangredi has been officiating games for 30 years, but he hasn’t been on the ice this season after suffering a major injury in a game on Valentine’s Day last year. Now, he’s working hard to get back to doing what he loves.
“I got hit in a game, fell, thought I was ok, wanted to be ok,” Tangredi said. “As I tried to lean on my leg, my foot was going the wrong way, so I blew the whistle and we got some help out there.”
Tangredi dislocated his knee during the game. Flash forward to 328 days, he was back at a hockey rink in East Haven this past Sunday morning.
“I missed it a lot,” Tangredi said. “You know, 11 months, I thought about it all the time. A couple thoughts creeping in, ‘do you still want to do this, do you want to skate again,’ and I think the answer is yes.”
Getting to this point wasn’t easy. Tangredi had two knee surgeries and had to endure countless hours of rehab at Gaylord Therapy Services in North Haven.
Kayla Trobec, a doctor of physical therapy at Gaylord was with Tangredi every step of the way.
“This means everything,” Trobec said. “We’ve been working for this day for a very long time. Initially, I didn’t know if he’d ever be ready to be back on the ice.”
The first hurdle was putting his skates back on. When Tangredi was injured, he had his right skate boot laces cut off on his way to the hospital. Seeing the skates again was emotional.
Trobec, a former high school hockey player, bought Tangredi some new laces with some words of encouragement.
“Just kind of working through what it would be like building up his confidence that he has in his body, that’s a lot of what goes on in our clinical sessions,” Trobec said.
Sunday morning, Tangredi laced up his skates for the first time since the injury and was ready to hit the ice. After 11 months, Tangredi was back where he belonged, a little anxious, but excited.
“I really felt like I can still do this,” Tangredi said. “It went better than I thought actually. A couple of stumbles, but it feels real good.”
His initial return to the ice lasted about 15 minutes, but the long-time official says the support of his wife and family got him back to this point and he hopes to be wearing his stripes in the near future.