MONMOUTH JUNCTION, N.J. – Senior forward Sam Messina will make his return to competitive hockey on Saturday afternoon when No. 22 Alabama plays Rutgers in the series finale in New Jersey. Messina played in four games last season before being diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation in the brain and leaving the team for medical treatment.
“Sometimes you just have a feeling that you need to be back,” Messina said. “Hockey is a habit. I’ve worked hard at becoming a better person after my injury, and finishing off my hockey career on this team is my final step.”
Messina last skated on Sept. 16, 2016 at then-No. 7 Oklahoma where he recorded an assist for his lone point of the season. In his freshman and sophomore seasons he totaled 47 points in 53 games. He last scored 651 days ago in the team’s win over Navy on Feb. 6, 2016.
"I'm excited that he's fully healthy and 100 percent ready to return," head coach Kyle Richards said. "He had a huge smile on his face as he came off the bus. I know the guys are excited to have him back."
Messina will join his brother, Nick, on the ice today as they become just the third pair of siblings to play for Alabama. Goalie Sean Vinson and defensemen Ryan Vinson played on the team from 2010-2014, and forwards Griffin and Brandon Butler both played at the Capstone. Brandon played from 2009-13 while Griffin retired with a medical disqualification earlier this season.