Two years after surgery, Thorst still went to physical therapy three days a week. His knee wasn’t getting better, and at this point it probably wouldn’t, but the college was footing the bill, so why not. Whenever he went to the rink, Coach put him to work filling ice bags and folding towels, as if he needed to earn his keep. At least at PT, he could listen to music while he used the machines, and the locker room had good-smelling soap and shampoo, a smorgasbord of muscle creams and skin tonics on a glass shelf. The gym too was nicer than the sad assortment of prison-yard equipment at the college’s athletics complex; it was nicer, even, than the rec center in Ottawa, where he trained with the Junior Senators. Back when Division I coaches were blowing up his phone.

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